Gaz Coombes – Worlds Strongest Man Review

Three years on from releasing the critically acclaimed Matador; Gaz Coombes has released his ‘Frank Ocean inspired’ third album The Worlds Strongest Man on May 4th. It is a culmination of the added hints of experimentation to his ever maturing songwriting in 2015 he was in a new submersible phase. This earned himself a Mercury prize nomination amongst other accolades. His recent comments about his third solo effort only suggest more exploration for the quietly confident singer-songwriter. So if any venture into Pop music comes from Gaz, you know it’ll be a considered and versatile affair.

‘Deep Pockets’ immediately smacks with a buzzing energy and throbbing beat. Gaz’s echoed and wiry vocals skate atop the accelerating feel of the track as it drives towards the chorus to be met with a more rooted, lower vocal to meet the expansive and growing sounds around him. His eccentric melodies and introverted lyrics deliver messages of unchecked masculinity. ‘Walk the Walk’ is no different in its narrative tone and is a steadier affair compared to his last single ‘Deep Pockets’ with meandering riff and bass line with a buzzing synth energy whirring through the track. This album looks to have a more integrated sense of scale accommodated in this instance through sections and a slicker delivery which the first two singles have served as an example of. The new album looks to be another worthy addition to his catalogue.

‘Shit (I’ve done it again)’ is a hazy track of whirring synth chords set around delicate melodies made up from strings and light electronica. The track gradually grows beyond this with prominent percussion, vocal harmonies and charged guitars and whole lot of reverb on top of that. It makes for a controlled and rewarding arrangement. ‘Wounded Egos’ bites with an opening line of ‘wounded egos, right wing psychos’, but this is set through the prism of a light arrangement of light, staccato electronica. The song then strikes an optimistic tone with pacing bass lines, percussion and a resonant synth compliment as Gaz’ piercing vocals sing of ‘chairs flying in the street’ but there being ‘another way’. It becomes of joyous track derived from that scathing opening and all done with a subtlety as worthy as any dramatic shift of tone he could have opted for. Tracks such as ‘Vanishing Act’ produce a sound that pushes a feeling of being on edge as Gaz screams of the need to ‘find my happy face’ and performing a vanishing act. The title track offers a hint of bravado to mock his themed subject around a crisp, slicked arrangement.

This album has saw Gaz tackle issues of masculinity a little more abruptly than he’s directed his solo songwriting before, but he has masterfully utilised his arrangements to manipulate and radiate the messages in his tracks. Sure, it isn’t the most exciting record of the year, but it is an immersive experience that plays off each subtle change in tone that makes this album. Coupled with that overarching sense of vulnerability and you have another strong chapter in Gaz Coombes solo catalogue.

Gaz Coombes – World’s Strongest Man = 8.5/10

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Gaz Coombes – Walk The Walk

Gaz Coombes third solo album The Worlds Strongest Man is due for a May 4th release which so far looks to see him deliver messages of unchecked masculinity amongst other lyrical matters dealt with in Coombes’ typically narrative tone. His latest single is no different and is a steadier affair compared to his last single ‘Deep Pockets’ with meandering riff and bass line with a buzzing synth energy whirring through the track. This album looks to have a more integrated sense of scale accommodated in this instance through sections and a slicker delivery which the first two singles have served as an example of. The new album looks to be another worthy addition to his catalogue.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Gaz Coombes – Deep Pockets

Three years on from releasing the critically acclaimed Matador; Gaz Coombes is to release his ‘Frank Ocean inspired’ third album The Worlds Strongest Man on May 4th. Once he added hints of experimentation to his ever maturing songwriting in 2015 he was in a new submersible phase. This earned himself a Mercury prize nomination amongst other accolades. His recent comments about his third solo effort only suggest more exploration for the quietly confident singer-songwriter. ‘Deep Pockets’ immediately smacks with a buzzing energy and throbbing beat. Gaz’s echoed and wiry vocals skate atop the accelerating feel of the track as it drives towards the chorus to be met with a more rooted, lower vocal to meet the expansive and growing sounds around him. His eccentric melodies and introverted lyrics deliver messages of unchecked masculinity. Supergrass are but a distant memory and it’s likely it grow ever more distant by May 4th.

Owen Riddle

Sunday Suggestion – Gaz Coobes – Buffalo

Gaz Coombes is one of those 90’s Britpop figures still churning out material, and like many of them; its of a pretty decent standard. His solo debut Here Come The Bombs has a very solid album full of slightly spaced out acoustic and general rock moments. It seemed that with his next release, the then 37 year old looked about flexing his muscles a lot more. ‘Buffalo was the very early first release from some recording sessions two years back that would turn into Matador early this year. The song is characterized by the solemn piano bursts, the more spaced out and edgier beat with the distorted and echoed effects. The verse then see’s him turn the volume up on his vocals with great power and just enough rough edged quality with large soundscapes exploding around him. The third phase of the song see’s it suitably tail off with an acoustic and distorted bass sound while he softly sings the song out. The song progressions and altering themes and tones are fantastic as was his second album.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Gaz Coombes – Matador Review

Gaz Coombes - Matador

Like many fellow Britpop stars namely Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher, Gaz Coombes of Supergrass of course is developing his own style as a solo artist and leaving his Britpop pull back in the nineties. He’s recently commented in the Guardian that it was largely overblown anyway and that there were only a few good artists. It seems apt that he’d make such a comment before releasing another collection of contemporary tracks with his second studio album Matador. His 2012 debut Here Come the Bombs was certainly a solid one and was a confirmation (if any was needed) of his song writing prowess and experience. His current album has been a while in the making with the lead single being released over a year before the album back in 2013. So with that in mind you’d imagine a lot of fine tuning has been done too, but was it enough?

‘Buffalo was the first release from some of the early recording sessions Gaz had been doing back in 2013. The song is characterized by the solemn piano bursts, the more spaced out and edgier beat with the distorted and echoed effects. The verse then see’s him turn the volume up on his vocals with great power and just enough rough edged quality with large soundscapes exploding around him. The third phase of the song see’s it suitably tail off with an acoustic and distorted bass sound while he softly sings the song out. The song progressions and altering themes and tones are fantastic and he really allows the song to breath. An eerie and almost nutcracker-like opening starts off ’20/20′ with faded vocals dropping back into the delicate instrumentals. This fragility is gradually tested with the soft piano chords taking over along with the backing vocalists that allow for Gaz to open up his vocals before feeding off into an intricate and intimate acoustic rhythm with a rough, muted pulse behind it. The song utilises the earlier delicate moments to help feed the song into greater constructions of sound with a real burst of musical light upon all the elements arriving at the same point. A song that shows musical discipline paying off handsomely.

‘English Ruse’ is a song that has an easy, rotating rhythm about it via a muffled monotone synth that warps it’s sound as a means to raise the tone of the song and allow for some vocal expansion on Coombes parts. it’s a close track that inspires and contemplative approach to it whilst also having the rhythms to engage it on a more laid back level. It has a brilliant dual purpose and ends with a squealing distorted guitar that masterfully flashes across the closely packed instrumentals as opposed to a heavy, blocky distortion that blows the rest of the track out of the water. ‘Oscillate’ is funnily full of electronic oscillations set about an acoustic base and distant echoing washing of the backing vocals and whirring synths of which Gaz’s vocals can deliver the lyrics with ease and a certain sincerity. ‘Needles Eye’ has a shuffling approach to it about the percussion and riffs that again burst into light in allowing the vocal expansions of the lead and backing vocals with the song easily falling back in and out of this. Tracks such as ‘The Girl who fell to earth’ and ‘Detroit’ are a little more tame musically with well delivered acoustic themes that are focused more on vocal flamboyance and development along with an accomplished lyrical focus. With Matador Gaz has certainly struck a balance between experimentation and  familiarity and has gelled them together in an open and welcoming fashion. An album I certainly underestimated.

Gaz Coombes – Matador = 8.5/10

Single Review – Gaz Coombes – Buffalo

Gaz Coombes is one of those 90’s Britpop figures still churning out material, and like many of them; its of a pretty decent standard. His solo debut Here Come The Bombs has a very solid album full of slightly spaced out acoustic and general rock moments. It seems that with his next release, the 37 year old is about the flex his muscles a lot more. ‘Buffalo is the first release from some recent recording sessions Gaz has been doing while working on his second album. The song is characterized by the solemn piano bursts, the more spaced out and edgier beat with the distorted and echoed effects. The verse then see’s him turn the volume up on his vocals with great power and just enough rough edged quality with large soundscapes exploding around him. The third phase of the song see’s it suitably tail off with an acoustic and distorted bass sound while he softly sings the song out. The song progressions and altering themes and tones are fantastic and if his second album is of the same nature then it will be a step up for sure.

http://youtu.be/xi8AH-peorY

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