Gomez Liquid Skin

The newest British band with what critics have coined “promise” is not a prototype Brit pop band. Gomez’s Liquid Skin, the band’s first major label album, was a critical success over the pond, and has drawn some heady comparisons to wide ranging folk like the Grateful Dead, Beck and Pearl Jam. The album indeed displays a fresh sound rooted in American blues and folk with a hint of psychedelic vibe mixed in there. Initially, the sound seems reminiscent of Shannon Hoon’s soulful wailing on the first Blind Melon record. The 11 songs are a lush sounding mellow slice of bio-engineered hippie-transplanted blues-rock. The sweeping acoustic rhythm guitar leads most of the melodies and is ornamented throughout with keyboards, various horns and plush string arrangements. At points it does sound like they managed to resurrect some of the old ghosts haunting Abbey Road Studios, where this album was recorded and produced by the band. Yet the songs themselves seem to be lagging behind the high production values. This band seems to be fronting a little too Americano for five guys from outside Liverpool. The songs suffer from this posing and find themselves mired in cliché from time to time. What Gomez’s lacks in songwriting now, they more than make up for with deft production. In time perhaps the songwriting will evolve and take Gomez to the next level. (Virgin)