In 1998 two albums were fighting it out for Britain's esteemed Mercury Prize. Pulp and their acclaimed "This is Hardcore" as well as the highest selling album of that year (In the UK), The Verve's "Urban Hymns". Both sold well and were the critics' darlings. Then in April of 1998, literally four months before the shortlist was to be announced, north Britain's Gomez; who practically materialized out of nowhere, released their self written, self recorded and produced album "Bring It On". It spread through the UK like wildfire later winning that very same award as well as being the critic's darling here in the States.
Now after 1999's "Liquid Skin", and EP and a b-side compilation- all which were well received with critics, Gomez have returned from a nearly two year hiatus with "In Our Gun".
The first thing one will notice about their third studio album is the pace. Gomez's seemingly laid back trance-like acoustic rock sound has become a bit more quirky. Also the production value is noticeably different; which is to be expected considering their first was made in a garage, and second quite quickly. It's easy to tell the band took their time and paid close attention to detail. And that attention has seemed to pay off.
The album opens with a very Radiohead-esque sounding song (Shot Shot) which is peppered with saxophones and fast pace. From there the rest of the album is a stop and go of ballady tunes (Even Song), synth heavy tracks (Army Dub) and as well as their western by way of Liverpool sound (In Our Gun) that seems to make its way on to each of their studio albums (Tijuana Lady on Bring It On, and California on Liquid Skin) thus far. Although the use of synthesizer to this extent is new for them, Gomez adapts and incorporates it well without compromising their sound, which really is not having a "sound". All in all the songs are tight and interesting which is furthered by harmonizing (which the do well loud) and the fact that they have three lead singers whom all take their turns making it hard to really get bored from song to song.
"In Our Gun" is not by any stretch groundbreaking nor as inventive as "Bring It On" might have been, but it certainly is a fine album worth giving a listen to for both die hard fans and newcomers alike. Although not too many of the songs really seem to stick out, after a few dedicated listens you realize near all thirteen tracks are very good- not great, but very good. And with that consistency, Gomez is starting to give the impression that they will be here for the long haul, and that's a good thing.
Label: Virgin Records