It is easy to forget how big a star Gaz Coombes was in the heady Britpop years of the mid-nineties. Supergrass were Britpop’s prime purveyors of knock about punk and idiosyncratic indie but unlike Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn and a rejuvenated Brett Andersoon, Coombes has rather fallen off the radar since Supergrass quietly petered out in 2010. It is a perfect time then for Coombes to return with a beguiling debut as he looks to assert himself as a solo artist.
Unencumbered by the pressures of being a part of an established group, ‘Here Come The Bombs’ sees Coombes broadening his sound with a degree of playful sonic experimentation. The sound is organic and natural rather than contrived however, and there is something deeply compelling about the understated melancholy of ‘Bombs’ and the insistent pulse of ‘Sub Divider.”
Despite being markedly different in sound, there are fleeting reminders of Supergrass’s exuberant pop, particularly on the driving guitars of ‘Hot Fruit’ and the swaggering glam rock of ‘Whore.’ Indeed, throughout the album Coombes’s familiar twang gives the album a welcome familiarity that allows him to explore new sounds without ever sounding impenetrable and strange.
Another glimpse of the past is the presence of ‘I Should Coco’ producer Sam Williams as co-producer and collaborator and the pairs close bond allows them to give ‘Here Come The Bombs’ an impressive and expansive sound.
There is a compelling desire to explore new sounds throughout the album, ‘Simulator’ sees Coombes dabbling in electronic beats, a sound that is furthered with cut up rhythms and all manner of sounds on the impressive dance floor filler ‘Break The Silence.’ The albums best moment is saved for the end as it its simplest. ‘Sleeping Giant’ is an utterly gorgeous soulful lament over twinkling keyboards that shows off Coombes’ lilting vocals.
Going solo always opens new vista’s for a singer and on ‘Here Come The Bombs’ Gaz Coombes has grasped the opportunity to do something a little bit different with a very impressive debut. The best thing about it is you get the sense he has only just started.
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