29 September 2008

Mystery genre blues

I was trying for the umpteenth time to describe Gomez and their music to someone. Every other writer who has ever written about them, myself included, describes them as "genre-bending" (we try to inform, really, but we just can't help ourselves!). They have an abiding love of raw, rootsy blues and folk and rock music: Junior Kimbrough, John Lee Hooker, and more recently people like Tom Waits -- but in their music you can also hear a love of electronica and house and Kraftwerk, and a love of The Grateful Dead. Alongside Gomez' rendition of pure psychedelia that turns up now and again, you can totally hear 1970s and 1980s power pop and prog rock in their tunes. The band also owe a debt to the Beatles, the Stones, and I daresay Crowded House, as well as a respect for all the old bluesmen and folk musicians who came out of the South, some of whom were "discovered" by outsiders and then the mainstream when Alan Lomax started his collection of recordings starting in the 1930s.

You can see that this group of five plus a sixth erstwhile member might be a little hard to pin down. This seems to be, commercially speaking, a tough obstacle to overcome. Fun for fans but worse for weekend shoppers, Gomez' style and approach tend to range a lot from album to album and even within a single album, so you never know what to expect, nor where exactly to file the CD in the shop, nor quite how to sketch a brief summary of what they do in a two-paragraph review.

But I seem compelled to keep trying, like a blind woman groping her way around an elephant, trying to get its measure.

1 comment:

Centrechick said...

I can't wait to meet you on Thursday at the Gomez show! Crossing fingers and hoping all goes well. Let the masses not love our lads if they must, that's more for us to love!