See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, October 7, 1998

Bold First Steps

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 1998 at 12:00 AM

Perhaps British non-Brit-pop outfit Gomez should have instead titled its debut Pour It On, Slowly. It's just that kind of double-take album. Based equally upon cocky '70s classic blues-rock and those underdog, underwhelming lo-fi sounds of today (with a hint, of course, of pure Beatle extract), Bring It On is nevertheless its own unsettling concoction.

The 21-year-old British midland "kids" who comprise Gomez could not possibly know, for example, the intimate details of clandestine, south-of-the-US-border rendezvous, but they craft a believably bittersweet, dirty Eagles scenario in "Tijuana Lady." The band's dual and alternating singers Ben Ottewell and Tom Grey 's takes on the lyrics intersperse soulful and pained with just recently deflowered-poetic and hang the listener on their every just-detailed-enough narrative. And, even if you don't believe the words, the sounds, grooves and feeling are evocative enough to take you there. Much like Gomez's late-lamented American counterpart-apparent, Jonathan Fire*Eater, the quintet is stacked with natural-born vocal and musical storytellers who care not whether you believe the veracity of their tales, so long as you lock in sonic step for the four or five minutes it takes to roll them off their tongues or strings.

The adventure here is in uncovering, from track to track, what surprises the band will throw your way. That kind of invention and lust for music is all too rare -- at least among major label records. Gomez employs the basic guitars-drums-organs lineup -- with some expertly executed sampling and analog synth augmentation. But the members have obviously done their homework in crafting an original patchwork of rock's past and present to create the same sort of dreary debauchery that the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays once made oh-so-romantic -- yet without all that rave-ish, heart-on-the-sleeve, E-fueled, underlying optimism. And that's a good thing!


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Chris Handyside

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2020 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation