Volume 92, Issue 36
Friday, November 6, 1998
bigger than the post
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Bringing on the next smash
Photo by Scarlet Page
By Mark Pytlik
Brace yourself if you've heard this one before. A young UK band hits North American shores riding a huge wave of hype and critical acclaim. The buzz generated by this advance hype eventually becomes so mind-bogglingly enormous that there is no chance the band will ever live up to its advance billing.
After playing a handful of select club dates to disenchanted onlookers, the band scurry back home to England with their tails between their legs, absent-mindedly muttering something about a "difficult" American audience and are consequently never heard from again.
Countless UK bands are all too familiar with this scenario. For this reason, it would be easy to dismiss Gomez as yet another in a long line of over-hyped disappointments. However, after only one listen to their experimental, blues-infused debut LP, Bring It On, it becomes blatantly obvious that for once, the hype is warranted.
In town for a lone Canadian date at Toronto's Horseshoe, drummer Olly Peacock spoke candidly about the band's meteoric rise to fame in England and their attitudes towards success in North America.
"We're kind of just plodding along. We do music for ourselves and our mates, so it's quite bizarre that [the album] got released anyways. We're not really on a mission to 'break' anywhere. In England it's gone pretty hectic, our profile is massive. If the same thing happens over here then that's cool as well."
One of the main reasons for Gomez's success in England is their recent 1998 Mercury Music Award. Widely revered as one of the UK's most prestigious music awards, this year's nominee short list included the likes of Pulp and The Verve and oddsmakers did not initially give Gomez much of a chance to win. Gradually, as critical acclaim poured in, the odds came down and Gomez went from being underdogs to contenders.
"I actually went down to the booking agent for my girlfriend's birthday and just as a silly present, I put some money on us winning," Peacock mused. "She's a student so I figured I'd win her some money if I could. The odds were 9-1 at the time and she ended up winning 80 pounds, which is pretty damn good."
Perhaps even better is the ground swell of attention which came with winning the award. Early reports say Gomez's accumulated album sales doubled within a day of their victory. Peacock finds that notion a little bit daunting.
Bring It On is an album which successfully melds sonic experimentation with old school American influences. Imagine a collaboration between Beck and Tom Waits and you wouldn't be too far off.
Peacock warns that the next album may not be in the same vein. "There'll probably be a few songs that'll cause people to wonder what the hell we're up to. It's all over the place again. The general vibe of Bring It On is the same, people don't know what to expect. That's the way we like to do it."
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