Gomez: Liquid Skin

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Gomez

Album: Liquid Skin
Label: Virgin

It may be that some bits of culture (bangers and mash, Are You Being Served?, "football") simply don't translate when they cross the Atlantic from Britain to America, or it could be that sometimes the British simply don't have particularly good taste (bangers and mash, Are You Being Served?, "football"). For the latest example, look no further than the much-heralded British band Gomez, whose second album, Liquid Skin, sounds as ponderous and half-baked as its first (1998's Bring It On). Taking vague cues from American roots music and less vague cues from American jam bands, Gomez's music takes the form of loosely structured collages, snippets of a verse flowing into snippets of bridges and choruses, obtuse lyrics, and a lushly dull soundscape tying the whole thing together. But does the world really need an Anglo Dave Matthews Band (minus the pop instincts and bravura solos) when it's not even clear that we need the one we've already got? To be fair, like the somewhat similar, if more radical, Beta Band, Gomez frequently seems on the verge of doing something interesting. But being interesting in theory and being interesting in fact, as much as anything else, is what divides good music from bad. Fans of Grateful Dead acolytes may find the group's self-described "psychedelic blues" more compelling than most, but anyone else might have trouble remembering what's on the stereo, or why they pushed "play" to begin with.

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