When British Psych/Folk/Blues quintet Gomez got started nearly a decade and a half ago, they were all around 18 and the personification of the title of their 2006 singles/B-sides compilation, Five Men in a Hut. They lived in close proximity, writing, rehearsing and recording at the drop of a hat.
After winning the Mercury Prize for their debut album, 1998’s Bring It On, and their subsequent European successes, the fivesome took up lodgings slightly further apart from each other than their Southport roots — four of them moved within hours of each other, while guitarist Ian Ball relocated with his wife to Los Angeles. The distance between members has helped Gomez decompress after their consistent touring and has increased their productivity during the rare moments they’re together again.
And technology — home recording, e-mail accessibility — has helped the Gomez members stay connected creatively, which was extremely beneficial for their new album, A New Tide.
“When Ian moved five or six years ago, it was interesting, with one of us in the States and the rest of us in England,” says Gomez drummer Olly Peacock. “We tour so much and we’re together a lot of time, we found our way very easily. Recording on that level of knowing how to throw songs back and forth and being far more technically savvy made it really interesting.”
A New Tide certainly displays a looser vibe, hearkening back to Gomez’s earlier albums. In some ways it’s a return to form; in other ways, a fascinating extension.
“It’s a very different record, it lends itself to having more in common with the first three albums,” says Peacock. “As a whole, I think there’s more experimentation, more electronics and more of a folkier sound. It’s ever-changing, as most of our albums do. And I think it’s very concise; we could have added another two songs but it wouldn’t have been as cohesive. I’m glad that we‘ve finally figured out, after well over a decade, that we can make an album less than 45 minutes long.”
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