May 11, 2006

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Gomez, How We Operate
ATO Records, 2006

Seven albums into it and now Ian Ball sings “I stopped trying to write things I don’t like,” instantly earning himself a place in the peer pressure hall of fame, but what’s worse — aside from the image of Dave Matthews skulking around the studio with one thumb poised over the shock-the-monkey button waiting for them to stray from the Oasis-meets-String-Cheese script — is that it wouldn’t matter if the band were given a year to write just one measly three-minute wonder aboard a yacht-full of Abercrombie models: their segues are disastrous. Despite the fact that several passages are plenty good enough to fill the dead air between Gilmore Girl scenes, it’s a musical jigsaw puzzle with its pieces scattered all over the table. Bluegrass-pop builds to a powerful bridge in “See the World,” and all of a sudden there’s the sound of either (A) Belle and Sebastian helping them scrounge up a sha-la-la chorus for one of the other songs, or (B) a wet flop-flop-flopping and gasping for air. B-

— E.W.S.


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