Top positive review
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the SIXTH studio album from Gomez
on 29 June 2006
It's always difficult listening to new material by one of your favourite bands. The anticipation and expectation often end up exceeding the delivery on first listening, and this was certainly the case with How We Operate. But after a few more takes, I've found some great moments and classic Gomez magic in this album.
I agree with the previous reviewer that the Country & Western influence is fairly obvious in a couple of the tracks, and not being a C&W fan these were the tracks that I least liked (See The World, Hamoa Beach, Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol & Don't Make Me Laugh).
But there's still plenty here to please both the hardcore Gomez fan as well as the occasional listener. The opener, Notice, is a song of real beauty, rolling back the years to recall Tijuana Lady from the debut Bring It On. The title track, featuring Ben's trademark vocal, has the catchy, live-favourite qualities of the classic Get Myself Arrested. The single, Girlshapedlovedrug, sounding a little like early Razorlight (Golden Touch anyone ?), is an obvious single release although Gomez haven't always released the most obvious singles in the past - e.g. Sweet Virginia from the fantastic Split The Difference ! The opening bars of Tear Your Love Apart are very Libertinesque, but then jumps around between styles (with the refrain being overly-poppy for my liking), a very confused production.
Every Gomez album has it's opus (think Rie's Wagon, Buena Vista, In Our Gun) and Charley Patton Songs is this album's offering. A melancholy vocal over a bubbling tune with echos of imperial chinese melodies thrown in for good measure - it's a masterpiece !
Woman! Man! is another of those tracks that promises much, clever lyrics and smart direction but for me it's horribly let down by the 'sha la la' refrain; listen for yourself and see what you think. All Too Much features the most Pixies-like rock'n'roll moments on this album, probably the most obvious hint of Gil Norton's hand on the controls. Cry On Demand, the penultimate track, is a classic Gomez hotchpotch of a track (think Chicken Out) featuring changes of style, tempo, direction and an annoyingly catchy bit of whistling, but it seems to work in the way that only Gomez seem to be able to pull off.
All in all this is not my favourite Gomez album, but it's got enough of their trademark brilliance, even though only in patches, to make it a must have for anyone who's liked any of the previous FIVE Gomez albums. Don't take my word for it, invest a tenner (or less on Amazon !) and see for yourself.