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Gaz Coombes Presents... Here Come The Bombs
Ex-Supergrass man returns with a bang on solo debut
Chris Jones, 24 May 2012
For a Britpop veteran, Gaz Coombes is probably younger than you think. Somehow, the ex-Supergrass frontman is still just 36 – two years younger than Guy Garvey, five years younger than Gruff Rhys and a full 12 years younger than Jarvis Cocker. Thus, while it’s tempting to think of him as a relic of the ‘90s, there’s plenty of youthful vigour on this first solo record. Even better, it’s allied to the kind of maturity you’d expect from someone who’s been at it for over 20 years.
Supergrass always did know their way around a big melody, and there’s plenty of that in evidence here – first single ‘Hot Fruit’ explodes from the speakers; the rage-filled ‘Whore’ boasts a fist-pumping earworm of a chorus; and ‘Break The Silence’ veers from a slinky, synth-slathered verse to a giddy burst of exuberance just made for big festival stages. Indeed, there are synthesisers all over Here Come The Bombs, and it’s been produced with machine-tooled precision and clarity – but there are enough fresh ideas and unexpected left-turns to keep things interesting. Take the whacked-out Krautrock of ‘Universal Cinema’ and the dreamy psychedelia of ‘White Noise’ and ‘Sleeping Giant’ for example. ‘Fanfare’s crisp beats and laconic vocal delivery, meanwhile, call to mind those paragons of Parisian cool, Phoenix. Complacent, Coombes is not.
His days as a teen idol are well behind him, but the rasping voice and effortless power-pop melodies remain – not to mention a welcome sense of adventure. Here Come The Bombs is a fine way to begin the next chapter.