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Gomez
SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE
(Virgin)
Stars graphics

Although theyíre British, Gomez have made a career of appropriating American musical traditions: first Delta blues for Bring It On, then Cali-folk on Liquid Skin, and finally Detroit techno for 2002ís In Our Gun. No surprise, then, that the new wave of NYC garage grime gets props on Split the Difference, though the three songwriters in Gomez never sound as if they were jumping anyone elseís train. Instead, they take a gritty guitar approach to "We Donít Know Where Weíre Going," which itches with big power chords, and put their own spin on the kind of vocal distortion the Strokes favor on "Catch Me Up."

Every song element here draws on its own organic and often experimental palette, from Paul Blackburnís scuzzed-up meandering bass lines to the harmonica that drops into the chorus of "Extra Special Guy." Not that Gomez have left their sensitive side behind: Ian Ball comes through with a plaintive acoustic ballad, "Sweet Virginia" (not the Stones song), and thereís the deep-voiced longing of Ben Ottewell screaming "Hello, my friend" at the top of "Where Ya Going?" Itís that kind of eclecticism thatís given Gomez a sizable cult following even outside Anglophile circles.

BY JEFF MILLER


Issue Date: May 7 - 13, 2004
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