Gomez In Our Gun

Not gone, but slightly forgotten, England's Gomez pulled off a short disappearing act for some of 2000 and all of 2001. It seems like eons since they won the Mercury Music Prize for their debut album, Bring It On, and thankfully their third album captures that same magical essence that gained them their notoriety. In Our Gun maintains that ragged, R&B/folk-tinged classic rock sound that they were known for, and their album still doesn't fit in with any current music scene. The most enjoyable part of this record is the avoidance of stretching songs into a comatose state, like some of their past work has done. "I like the fact that the songs are a lot more immediate and not quite so longwinded. The songs are all pretty short and get to the point quickly," says Ian Ball, guitarist and one of the band's three singers. One of the prime examples of this is leadoff track and first single "Shot Shot." Beginning with a notorious guitar riff, the song explodes with the help of a Morphine-esque saxophone, making it very short and very sweet. Once that's over something quickly becomes clear: Gomez has been busy exploring with electronics. All over the record, drum machines, sequencers and those fabulous bleeps and blips are scattered to help out with the new direction. There's even a dub track, aptly titled "Army Dub." According to Ball, it was always going to happen and finally it did. "We just wrote with this 505. We really wanted to be able to do that sort of thing, but we just never had the tools before. If you want that sound, you need a fucking powerful drum machine to get that massive powerful sound," he explains with excitement. It may seem weird at first, but he felt the band had to do it. "It's good on an album with complex, melodic shifts and weird chord changes to have this four-to-the-floor monster." A monster it is, In Our Gun shows what a band that has been successful by sounding like nothing out there has been doing on their hiatus, and it really is frighteningly good. (Virgin)