Say this for Gaz Coombes: he's unafraid to have his solo debut, Here Come the Bombs, be a grand departure from his previous gig as leader of Supergrass. That Brit-pop trio specialized in melodic exuberance, a quality conspicuously lacking on the willfully elliptical Here Come the Bombs, a record so hazy it feels about twice as long as its tight 38-minute run time. Such a thick fuzziness is deliberate, as Coombes embraces the opportunity to get far out, to have his basslines turn elastic, to have rhythms fold in on their careening echoes, to layer on distortion and then peel it away. At times, Here Come the Bombs recalls the languid nocturnal tone poems of Road to Rouen, but Coombes is livelier here, sometimes pushing his hooks very hard, adding sonic color and "White Noise" (a song with some impish perversity on Gaz's part that sounds not at all cacophonous), all tricks that give the illusion of a never-ending sprawl. Coombes' attention to detail is a shade too studied, as if he's intent on cramming all his ideas into a contained space. Hooks and melodies surge and then fade, with the quiet moments sounding just a touch too austere, individual moments impressing but the whole never quite coalescing. Such segmentation makes Here Come the Bombs feel like work in a way Supergrass never did -- it is quite deliberately the opposite of the bracing immediacy of the 'Grass -- a shift that is undeniably jarring at first and is somewhat at odds with Coombes' innate gifts. So, call Here Come the Bombs a transitional album, one where Gaz is trying out everything he always wanted to do within Supergrass but never could, and next time around he may be able to synthesize all these sounds.
|Label:||Hot Fruit Recordings|