It’s been a strong year for 90’s bands and artists returning to resurgence, with the likes of Blur, The Prodigy (who arguably never really went away), Belle & Sebastian and Sleater Kinney all producing sonically interesting and solid work. So I was intrigued by what I heard of Gaz Coombes mellow new album.
Buffalo is an emotional exhortation about the wish to return home, to begin again and return to a time of innocence. Time and experience has made him feel jaded and emotionally damaged (“cos all my tears felt like sand [...]/round in circles lost my way”) and like he’s trapped in an endless recursive loop – an ouroboros of weariness.
20/20 is an eerie song of emotional frailty, of wanting to sacrifice yourself for the one you love (“I’d take the hurricane for you”), of losing your identity in them and not being able to operate without them. It’s a song of interdependence, of keeping each other safe in the fading twilight and coming to the end of a turbulent journey to come out alright on the other side.
The Girl Who Fell to Earth sounds very much like a John Lennon track – when he sings “I just wish we could start over,” it’s very reminiscent of the song “Just Like Starting Over,” whilst also being an allusion to the famous Bowie film “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” Although not lyrically complex, and quite sentimental, it’s a gentle, lilting song that’s a good foil for the turmoil of 20/20.
The tone of the album is completely unlike the cheeky antics of Supergrass, and is a much more mature and evocative affair. It sounds a lot more akin vocally to Thom Yorke, with touches of Arcade Fire in tracks like The English Ruse and strains of Jeff Buckley can be heard in Seven Walls. Whilst occasionally at risk from being mawkish and overly sentimental, for the most part the album’s a success – a confluence of influences that work well together and make for a melancholy, but powerful and touching album.
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.