In Our Gun
Gomez’ third album of all-new material, In Our Gun, arrives in a haze of fuzzy, overblown guitars and driving drums with “Shot Shot,” the opening song and lead single. Harder-edged and more condensed than anything Gomez have previously done, the song runs less than two and half minutes. The insistent three note riff is reminiscent of Radiohead’s “National Anthem,” before Gomez subvert it with a wicked saxophone stab and a blues-flecked chorus.
The British space-rock-blues band has twice ducked the “difficult third album,” releasing an EP (Machismo) and an oddities album (Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline). After an 18-month hiatus, In Our Gun is a spine-tingling return to the scene. A supremely confident and playful album, it reworks Gomez’ signature bluesy sound without sacrificing any of their trademark oddball goofiness.
Much of the album comes across like Gomez’ take on Kid A with its weird bits of electronica and dark musings. One of the best songs on the album, “Detroit Swing 66,” is underpinned by a roiling bass sample and trips through unpredictable synthesised beats. Yet Gomez’ love of melody and experimentation (they produce all their albums themselves) is too great to let any single conceit carry a song, and the impishness soon shows through, as Ian Ball gurgles, “Your spaceship has arrived/ Please get in.”
With their three singers, Gomez have a penchant for vocal harmonies that few bands have indulged since the Beatles (who Gomez covered sublimely on Trolley). On the title track, a ballad which comes as close as Gomez get to brooding, Ball’s warm, breathy voice gets overlaid with harmonies until it’s hard to tell who’s singing the lead.
As well as the electronic mischief, there are a couple of toe-curlingly beautiful tracks, “Even Song” and “Miles End,” courtesy of Ben Ottewell and his luscious bubblebath of a voice. The album wraps up in style with the “Ballad of Nice and Easy,” a rollicking track featuring all three vocalists, and the classic Gomez line, “Sooner or later there’s an end to this candle/ We’ll burn it at both ends and then switch on the light.”
—Andrew R. Iliff
Alright On Top