Gaz Coombes – Matador

music-gaz-coombes-matador-album-cover-artWhen I heard that Gaz Coombes had a solo album coming out, I was intrigued more than excited. Never the hugest fan of Supergrass, I hadn’t really followed him that closely. In fact, to such an extent that I completely missed the fact that he actually released his first solo album, Here Come The Bombs, in 2012. Nevertheless, I decided to give latest release, Matador, a listen.

And I’m really glad I did. Gone is the catchy indie-pop of ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ and ‘Alright’ and it’s been replaced with something, unsurprisingly altogether more mature. It’s the sound of Britpop embracing age and experience and growing old gracefully. It’s got a similar low-key feel to Supergrass’ Road to Rouen album, which I absolutely loved.

On tracks like ‘Needle’s Eye’ and ‘Detroit’ you can really hear how Coombes has developed as a singer. He has a real soul to his voice and, especially on the latter, this really comes to the fore. ‘Oscillate’ brings to mind Kid A-era Radiohead, but with a touch more melody to it and you could probably say something similar about album opener ‘Buffalo’ In particular, on ‘Buffalo’, the electronic sounds are terrific.

In fact, there’s heavy use of electronica throughout the album. Title track and album closer, ‘Matador’, leans heavily on it and to good effect as does The Beatles infused ’20/20′, which is, to my mind, the weakest track on the album. However, the highlight for me has to be the acoustic guitar-led ‘The Girl Who Fell To Earth’. It’s a true thing of beauty and showcases everything good about the album, Coombes’ ear for a pop tune, the mature voice and a feel-good factor that seems to be almost omnipresent in his work.

I think the biggest compliment I can pay this album is that after listening, I’m no less intrigued. Whether it be to go back and listen to Here Come The Bombs or awaiting what comes after Matador, I’m going to be looking forward to listening to Gaz Coombes.

Graeme Campbell

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