ACL Fest Interviews
GomezFriday 8pm, Heineken stage
Musical alchemy. It's been Gomez's modus operandi since the group's Liverpool inception in 1997. Who other than these five mad scientists would have produced such wildly evocative and experimental blues-rock using any and every found object hither and yon as an instrument? It should come as no surprise, then, that Split the Difference (Virgin), the group's fifth full-length, is the result of the most daring experiment of all: reining in the weird.
"We're still massively experimental," says keyboardist/singer Tom Gray while on a break from taping episodes of ESPN's Cold Pizza and Last Call With Carson Daly. "What we contrived to do was to select an album that sounded more cohesive. We decided to stick all the solid songs together rather than mixing it up. We could have put out a really freaky record, an absolutely outrageous record."
The end result is indeed far more consistent than its predecessor, In Our Gun, which while excellent, was all over the place. Fortunately, the lads didn't sacrifice outrageousness outright. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a Gomez LP.
"I read a terrible biography thing with us talking about an identity crisis, which overstates the case," Gray explains. "It did have to do with nailing down our identity a bit, because we did feel, creatively, kind of static. We needed to move on a bit, change things up. We couldn't just stay in the same place with where we were on In Our Gun."
Changing things up meant abandoning the tinkering and just playing together in the same room, letting the music be.
"About 80% of this record is live in our little studio. It feels a lot more spontaneous, rather than all that contrived thought and intellectualization of the music, which tends to bog you down sometimes. You can get really bogged down in trying to be clever."