Music Review – Gomez, How We Operate
On their fifth effort in a career spanning over ten years, we find Gomez ditching the stoned, country-rock jam sessions in favor of twelve nimble, sparkling pop songs that belie the band’s raucous past. Drawing from their love of all music – country, rock, R&B, psychedelia, and Britpop to name a handful – and filtered through the guise of pop, How We Operate is a fully idealized album that leaves little room for disappointment. Ian Bell, Tom Gray, and Ben Ottewell share the vocals throughout Operate, and, even better, often sing together, recalling the euphonious harmonies of Fleetwood Mac’s all-mighty vocal triad of Nicks/ Buckingham/McVie. With this in mind, Gomez smartly adheres to the fundamentals of pop that bands like The Beatles helped formulate years ago: melody, harmony, and economic length of songs. This is most noticeable on “Girlshapedlovedrug,” arguably the album’s best, if not catchiest, song. But where a song like “Girlshapedlovedrug” succeeds in spades, “Chasing Ghosts with Alcohol” falls flat in its Pink Floyd-esque composition and Ottewell’s feigned pangs of emotion. Gomez proves that how they operate best is as a pop outfit, not a prog-rock band. Thankfully, they bring it back with “Tear Your Love Apart” and don’t falter much after that. “Woman! Man!” is a comic, tightly written ode to the birds and the bees and the things we do for, well – sex. Ironically, “Cry on Demand,” full of tempo shifts, stabbing guitars, and drums barreling over the landscape, pokes fun at a man’s infidelity when he has a one-night stand in, of all places, Vegas.