Album: Gomez

In Our Gun, Hut
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It's all very well trying to sidestep that "difficult third album" problem by releasing a stopgap collection of old demos and outtakes (2000's Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline) as their third LP, but ultimately Gomez were always going to have to go back into the studio and confront the creativity shortfall head-on with a batch of proper new material. Sadly, with In Our Gun, they're firing blanks, for all their attempts to modernise their retro-rock sound with hints of electronica and studio effects. As before, they view rock history as a kind of aural dressing-up box to be ransacked with abandon, and the various fashions are thrown together with scant regard for coherent style. Witness the theremin whine that cuts through the jazz-rock dash of "Shot Shot" or, most grating, the way that the title track begins as a gentle ballad of fatalistic mien and Grateful Dead harmonies, before the sudden intrusion of an aggressive bass riff heralds a lengthy section of whippy flange effects three minutes in. The results have little grace, and sound randomly bolted together and desperate to convince listeners that Gomez are techno-conscious modernists at heart and not really more at home on basic throwback R&B such as the serpentine swamp-blues of "Rex Kramer" or the rumbling, horn-laden "Detroit Swing 66". Even more damaging, though, is the drab, unfocused nature of the songs, which fail to impose themselves sufficiently on the performances. As with 1999's Liquid Skin, one can't help but wonder how an outside producer might have helped matters.