Title - Five Men In A Hut (A's, B's & Rarities 1998-2004)
Artist - Gomez
The first song I heard by Gomez was "Bring It On", from their second album 'Liquid Skin.' It didn't do much for me. Then a friend bought me 'Liquid Skin' for a present, and although it has several fantastic songs on it, it didn't do as much for me as their debut album, also called 'Bring It On.' Gomez are one the few bands of the 90's who manage to fuse blues and rock into a unique sound, without sounding like try-hard Bob Dylan immitators. The hardest thing to get used to with Gomez is the voice of lead singer Ben Ottewell. Ottewell sounds like the kind of guy who has smoked one too many cigarettes and listened to one too many Tom Waits albums. But like all great blues singers, Ottewell has the kind of voice that suits the music so well, you'd wonder what the lyrics would sound like if they were sung by anybody else. Several other band members also take turns at singing, but in the end its Ottwell's voice which shines through and it's pretty bloody hard to avoid. The songs on this new 36-track compilation of hits, B's and previously-unreleased tracks are all as varied a bag as one would expect. And indeed, even listening to them you can tell that some were definitely hits and some were born to be misses. That said, buy it, burn it, and send copies to everyone you know! And if this is your first taste of Gomez, then go out and buy all of Gomez' stuff! They are one truly amazing band. Their lyrics and arrangements are almost surreal, evoking a transplendent quality that points up their Beatles/Stones/Kinks/Who influences, while at the same time somehow establishing their sound as totally original. That they are not megastars is not only a true shame but it is also a sad commentary on what I think is the abysmal state of radio and their 'need' for hits-only!