Gomez
Whatever's On Your Mind


3.0
good

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
June 27th, 2011 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Things change, Gomez stay the same.

Five musicians, four songwriters, three vocalists – one would think that over the course of nearly a decade and a half the differing creative pulls would have torn Gomez apart already. Yet Whatever’s On Your Mind continues the trend that 2006’s How We Operate started for a band remarkably consistent in its power-pop output: another great record, chock full of five-part harmonies and crunchy guitar melodies considerably brightened up by the band’s trademark eclecticism. It’s this willingness to play with different genres that has served the band well since they took home the Mercury Music Prize with their 1998 debut, but it’s also experimentation that has been considerably softened over time as the group has turned more and more towards “forward-thinking” pop music that tends to occasionally veer towards Dave Matthews Band-inspired adult contemporary.

Gomez’s continued growth, then, or lack thereof, is a bit disappointing for a band that once showed so much promise with a bastardized version of Britpop that culled its influences from everything from old delta blues to psychedelic folk to jam band noodling. The essential ingredients are all right there and kicking – Whatever’s On Your Mind evenly splits up vocal duties between Ian Ball and Tom Gray’s more soothing vox and Ben Ottewell’s gravelly howl, and tracks like the complicated pop of “I Will Take You There” and groovy first single “Options” exemplify the best of what make Gomez such an exciting listen, albeit still a defiantly pop outfit. The way instruments drop in and out of the mix, the occasional horn and dub breakdown adding just the right spice to a tune, the fuzzy Sleigh Bells-ish bass thump of “Equalize,” or how “Just As Lost As You” turns a standard power-pop frolic into a surging wave of brass and organ; the band’s songwriting chops have undeniably aged well. If there’s a disappointment here, it’s that the band’s biggest strength in Ottewell’s distinctive pipes has been shackled with more weepy string-laden ballads like the schmaltzy “Our Goodbye” rather than the more in-his-wheelhouse rock of “Equalize.”

For all the studio tricks and bits of stylistic flair the band brings to the table, however, Whatever’s On Your Mind is still fundamentally the same record the band have been making for quite a while. “Options” is right up there with the strongest singles Gomez have ever penned, but Whatever’s On Your Mind fails to leave much of a lasting impression aside from the hooks and the impressive way the band can make a straightforward pop tune sonically adventurous. They’ve settled into that sweet spot where they really don’t have to do anything drastic to their sound: they put on a wild live show, and the band’s intimate knowledge of the many ways a pop song can go from being merely serviceable to unique and exciting is something to marvel at after fourteen years. There’s just something vaguely frustrating about a band as intrinsically talented as Gomez seemingly content to live out the rest of their days releasing albums that no one will remember in a few years time, rather than the genre-busting freshness that their debut promised.



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user ratings (12)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2011


15743 Comments


Things change, Gomez stay the same.


in b4 first person to bitch about how that's "in every review lately"

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

auberginedreams
June 27th 2011


6060 Comments


it is kinda ridiculous though lol

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2011


10498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

blame gomez

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

auberginedreams
June 27th 2011


6060 Comments


fuck you gomez

DoubtGin
June 27th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yep, I agree

How We Operate was great, though

Xenophanes
Emeritus
June 27th 2011


10614 Comments


Sigh...


was hoping this was Salena Gomez


oh well...

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2011


10498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

soon!

Photon
June 27th 2011


1292 Comments


who is Selena Gomez?

Sleptalone
June 28th 2011


14 Comments


remember when NME said these guys were the next big thing?

zillah
June 28th 2011


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thought this was pretty excellent. Not quite as great as How We Operate or Split the Difference, but holds up fine against most of their back catalog. Wish more people would give them the time of day.

Nice review otherwise.

AtavanHalen
June 28th 2011


17927 Comments


Gomez are total sweeties. Might get this.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 2nd 2011


4950 Comments


options is cool



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