Gaz Coombes: Matador (Hot Fruit) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Gaz Coombes


Hot Fruit

Jan 29, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Since going solo, Gaz Coombes, erstwhile frontperson of Britpop’s forgotten sons, Supergrass, has not tried to cling to his youth or to recreate his former group’s pogo-ready effervescence. On his recent album, Matador, the follow-up to 2012’s Here Come the Bombs, Coombes delves into the big sound ideas hinted upon with his debut. Coombes is both multi-instrumentalist and producer on Matador. With the studio as one of his main vehicles, the album is fleshed out in a way that is removed from the sparseness of a one-man operation.

Matador starts like a release on Warp Records: left-of-center and experimental. Opener “Buffalo” begins in this noodly fashion with a melancholic air that then blooms into a full orchestral number. This is picked up a few times on the album, such as on the flourish of strings bolstering the fluttery “The Girl Who Fell to Earth,” and the analog funk of “Needle’s Eye.” Cinematic is only one of the characteristics of Matador, which looks inward as much as it fanfares on the outside. Coombes coos on the tender “Oscillate” and keens on the lead single “20/20.” These tracks highlight his voice, which is as flexible as it is nuanced, and which serves as a great instrument for his confessional, pain-stricken lyrics. But he overdoes it on “Seven Walls” where the elements of the song fight for space, becoming exaggerated in the process.

David Bowie has been referenced more than once both in observation and in inspiration on Matador. And Coombes’ songwriting, with his firm hold on melody, is as strong as ever. The giddiness of Supergrass is no longer. It is instead replaced by contemplation, but is nonetheless enjoyable for it. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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