Its hard to believe that its a little over 20 years since Supergrass bestowed the stage with “Caught By The Fuzz” :-0 but with 6 studio albums and 26 singles to their credit it was always going to be a little tough going solo.
Gaz’s first solo album, “Here Comes The Bombs”, released May 2012 was a good album, however it never really distanced him from the old Supergrass sound – it’s not a bad thing.
Enter “Matador” an 11 track belter of an album and one that is already shortlisted for my album of the year. The opening track “Buffalo” leads you into thinking this could be a melancholic track, but a third of the way through you have drums, guitars and synths all thrown at you, then back to melancholic, then back to full on every instrument thrown back at you. This really is a statement track, sort of “believe me, I’ve changed”. FYI this track was originally released late 2013 and as Gaz mentions this was the seed of the album.
Track two also suckers you into thinking this could be a calm track with a piano/synth – but “20/20” just maybe the finest track on the album. A really nice, complex track – with all the hiss and noise you would expect from some tired old recording equipment mixed with some loops direct from an app from a mobile phone! This definitely is the stand out track of the album and a deserving lead single.
Track three “The English Ruse” continues in the same vain as the first two tracks, high pace, great vocals – and a long track at 4:43, not radio friendly, but what does Radio 1 know about good music.!? Saying that Radio 6 made this album the album of the day (28th Jan 2015), so someone has taste. If it were me this would be the second single, it has everything going for it and dare I say it a hint of old Supergrass with the keyboard sound.
OK, track 4 “The Girl Who Fell To Earth”, not sure if this is some link to the film of a similar name that Bowie starred in (The Man Who Fell To Earth). Anyway this is a more mellow track, still full sounding track with violins and cymbals. Really wish I could get the lyrics to lyrics to this track to discover what is going on 🙂
Just when you thought it was safe “Detroit” brings you back into the world of Gaz Coombes, another fully equipped track of over 5:40 minutes. I hope this is a track that is played live on the forthcoming tour as I would love to see the second half guitar solo kicking off in true self indulgent style.
So half way through the album and “Needles Eye” kicks off with loops and samples and (possibly) changes direction for the album, if this were a vinyl this would be the start of side-B. This track just flows, its so easy to like… TBH this could have been the album opener.
Nice touch that track seven is called “Seven Walls”, if you like that sort of thing (like me), nice touch. After listening to the album a few times this is turning into one of my favorites; maybe due to the mellow vocals, punctuated with deep guitar solo with feedback (could be a synth?).! I’m wondering the meaning of the seven walls and Jericho, could it be Hebrew 11:30.?
Boom, the mind bending track Oscillate kicks in with its duel vocals, feedback and synths. The album on side two does have a different direction. This track bears no resemblance to the old days of Supergrass and its a pleasure to listen to this new direction, the arrangement, the vocals really suit the older (matured) Gaz.
Track nine, “To The Wire” continues where Oscillate left off, a nicely crafted track, but finishing off heavy with more drums, cymbals, synth and guitar – definitely a track to hear and see live.
Track 10 is an oddity “Is It On?” is basically Gaz talking in a high pitched voice, bizarre!
The crescendo of the album is the track and album name, Matador. This is a dreamy sounding track with lyrics to match – the final words being: “I’ll take all the pain and the scars of war, Coz I’ve faced the beast and fight like a Matador”…
All in all this album is a defining moment for Gaz and one he should be duly proud of, since it really does “Cut The Wire” with the ties to Supergrass and ushers in a new sound and new direction for him.
More info on Gaz Coombes can be fund from the links below:
deano album review score 8/10