Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
Some of the songs on Gomez' latest record, "Whatever's On Your Mind," especially the title track, will make you doubt what you're doing with your life. They will make you analyze just how happy or how sad you claim to be and the real answer will get boiled down into something that can be held. It's a result that should be appreciated, if not admired. It gets us to the point where we're no longer bullshitting ourselves, which we tend to do more than is healthy. Often, we just cannot bear the truth. It's so lackluster and stupid looking, unrecognizable from the image we have in our heads. Everything's always bigger or more serious, up there in those heads of ours, and we lose sight of what holds the most importance: pure, gleeful happiness. It's a short list of one. We have our nightmare weeks - the ones where everything just falls into the toilet, you feel like a turd, you crack your phone, someone slams into your car while you're sleeping, you get a bloody nose, you're up all night working, you're up early all of the following mornings working and you feel your gut getting bigger from your sedentary lifestyle. There's nothing that you can do to break the cycle. You can't get ahead. You're just completely stuck, with a yoke around your neck, pulling a plow wherever you go. It's the sort of feeling that the guys in the band from Southport would love to help you alleviate. It could be that they're mostly hoping to alleviate the feeling in themselves first, but if they can impart some of what they've learned onto you, then everyone wins.
The group, which boasts the superb talents of not one, or two, main vocalists, but three (Ian Bell, Tom Gray and Ben Ottewell), and not three main songwriters, but five (add in bassist Paul Blackburn and drummer Olly Peacock), has a very pleasant approach to general, overall betterment of the spirits. On "Whatever's On Your Mind," singer Ottewell sings, "You keep draggin' that heavy load/Just let go," going for the simple form of advice, addressing someone who just can't see the forest for the trees, or just sees too many trees, doesn't even give a damn if it's a forest and could care less if the sight of all those trees in front of them is actually quite breathtaking. We usually refuse to believe that it's as easy as just letting the heavy load we're toting go, letting it sink to the bottom of the lake, where it can rust with the rest of the burdens and fish.
"Options" is another song about being careful not to get trapped in a life that you're not really meant to be living. It's about finding that there's joy in many situations that others would downplay - the joy coming from being about to up and escape anytime you wanted to. It's about choosing to go back and live with your parents, as you're trying to get back on your feet, and looking at it without shame, but with excitement that the possibilities are endless and you could still do anything.