Album of the Week: Gaz Coombes | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, October 19th, 2020  

Album of the Week: Gaz Coombes

World’s Strongest Man Out Now via Hot Fruit/Caroline International

May 04, 2018
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World's Strongest Man is a ride down the road less travelled for former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes. If you were expecting endless variations on a Supergrass theme, then you'll be slightly confused and annoyed by his third solo record. The tunes are still very much intact and will eat into your brain and live there for days, but the approach is a little, shall we say, esoteric.

Coombes has obviously found a cache of Krautrock albums under the bed and has examined them in almost forensic detail. The title track and "Deep Pockets" have a lovely "Dusseldorf '74" feel-the latter track is almost the dictionary definition of motorik. When the electric guitar makes an appearance, it almost sounds like Coombes is beating it with his fist.

He's not afraid to take a risk or two. "Slow Motion Life" starts with a lo-fi piano arrangement and builds into something strange and lovely and intense. It's a slow burner, but it's a standout track on an album full of standout tracks. If you're looking for something a little less edgy, then "Wounded Egos" may be tune for you. It starts off with Coombes singing over what sounds like a musical box, which is then augmented by a toy synthesiser and a drum machine stuck on "Rock Beat #3." Throw in a glorious melody and some ghostly backing vocals and you've got yourself a bit of a classic. The understated production works really well-it sounds a lot like a record that was made in a studio with egg boxes on the wall, but in a good way. It's raw and slightly off kilter and it sounds refreshingly like a record that was made by a human being.

Bits of World's Strongest Man sound a bit like primetime Radiohead, but a punky, DIY Radiohead. There's invention and playfulness and good tunes in abundance here and it seems that Coombes isn't happy to just crank out pop-rock until the royalty check drops on the doormat. After more than 25 years in the sinful and wicked music industry, he's still capable of surprising us.   

Read our review of World's Strongest Man.

Read our new interview with Gaz Coombes on World's Strongest Man.

Gaz Coombes Tour Dates:

5/17 - Glasgow, UK - The Garage
5/18 - Liverpool, UK - Arts Club
5/19 - Leeds, UK - Church
5/21 - Birmingham, UK - O2 Institute 2
5/22 - Bristol, UK - The Trinity Centre
5/23 - London, UK - Palladium
5/25 - Dublin, IE - The Academy
5/29 - Paris, FR - La Maroquinerie

www.gazcoombes.com

Album of the Week Runner-ups (Also Released This Week):

Leon Bridges: Good Thing (Columbia)

FAN: Barton's Den (Polyvinyl)

Eleanor Friedberger: Rebound (Frenchkiss)

Jon Hopkins: Singularity (Domino)

Iceage: Beyondless (Matador)

Matt and Kim: Almost Everyday (FADER Label)

Middle Kids: Lost Friends (Domino)

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