After their last LP flopped, the new Gomez single arrives with a truly cunning conceit: it doesn't sound like Gomez.
The compact rockabilly swagger of Catch Me Up may instantly appeal with an easy charm and casual manner, but some will be left querying what's so obviously absent. Where has it gone, that trademark gravelly bellow, that dirge of a croon? Ben Ottewell's sod-scraping vocals may have marked Gomez as the indie Brian Blessed but here they're nowhere to be found.
Deliberately slight, Catch Me Up is designed to show that, four albums in, Gomez can be as breezy and off the cuff as ever before. And in that aim they succeed. Bereft of Ben's primeval noise, the record does attain a contemporary efficiency - a fluidity the band have often lacked. But you can't help feeling that this is a false economy: that, for this track at least, they've jettisoned the one element that made them unique.
So it's jaunty, it's catchy, but it's nothing that The Coral haven't been churning out over the last couple of years, and with, it must be said, somewhat more panache. Ben's ungodly roar will no doubt permeate the new LP. On this evidence, it won't be a moment too soon.
6Anthony Smith's Score