Gomez, How We Operate

Aidin Vaziri

By Aidin Vaziri

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Beardy Brits in good album shocker.

There are so many reasons to hate Gomez. The beards and the spectacles. The fiddles and harmonicas. The mere fact that they're British and call themselves Gomez. Then they sign with Dave Matthews 'ATO label, of all things — and deliver their best album since 1998's Mercury Music Prize-winning Bring It On. In fact, How We Operate just might be Gomez's best album ever. After years of sounding like grizzled old men, they suddenly come up with something like "Girlshapedlovedrug," a lithe pop song that's as addictive as anything Kylie has ever done. The decision to recruit Gil Norton to work the knobs is another revelation. The veteran producer, whose clients have included Pixies, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Foo Fighters, strips away the unnecessary frills that weighed down the band's four previous self-produced studio discs, hems in the rambling psychedelic jams and helps maintain a laid-back air without compromising the punchy melodies. Add to that a near break-up, personal upheaval and the trauma of getting dropped by their previous label, and you'll see why even standard-issue Gomez ballads such as "See The World" and "Notice" resonate with a new sense of purpose. They may not be such bad guys after all.