The British quintet Gomez has been making music together for more than 12 years. In that time, the band has become a much more accomplished performance band than studio band as evidenced by its increasing list of festival appearances and venue draw worldwide. It’s a wise move from a marketing standpoint then, to sell high quality, live recordings.
In March of 2010, the band debuted its archival “Gomez Live” series, available at merchandise tables at concerts and directly from the bands’ website as a download. Volume 1: Europe 2009, is a compilation recorded in Holland and the United Kingdom. These are soundboard recordings, offering crisp and clear vocals and instrumentation, though audience applause is loud and clearly audible, suggesting a multichannel recording.
A little surprisingly only three songs from ‘09s A New Tide make the cut, of which, the pop nugget “If I Ask you Nicely” gets the warmest response. Ben Ottewell’s sunny lead vocals and the three-part harmony chorus make this a stand out track amongst the other 15. Ian Ball’s lovely acoustic ballad “Tijuana Lady” gets the extended treatment here, beginning with a low, rumbling bass, and Ball’s gruff, Waits-ian voice getting a echoed effect as he sways back and fourth from the microphone. No doubt the band’s most popular song to date, “How We Operate”, clocks in at 9:31, benefiting from the slower, blues drenched tempo and passionately bellowed vocals, as well as the effects laden epilogue.
Intended mainly for the band’s dedicated fan base, an archival release makes a fine memento and documents a particular period in the band’s history.