Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The human beings that are heard in the songs of Robert Gomez sound as if they are involved with a perpetual struggle to get warmer and warmer. They are spending their time inching closer and closer to the humble, but bursting and roasting collection of logs owning the fire in front of them. They move a few inches, rub their hands together, feel the ice retreat bit-by-bit from their covered toes and then they decide that the heat needs to be intensified just a little more - this warmth is not going to do. They need more of that redness, more of a burn. Their advancement toward this end is a slow and methodical one, the way people move when their extremities aren't cooperating, halfway in hibernation as they burn with the cold that's trying to conquer them one shiver at a time. Gomez, the Denton, Texas, songwriter follows up the dazzling "Brand New Towns," with a record that finds many of the branches on the trees barren of leaves, sticking out through the grey air, wanting something to touch them again. It's a stark contrast from the formerly green and budding landscape that used to be surrounding them, now just biding their time until the sap gets flowing once again and something promising greets the day. Instead, what Gomez brings to the forefront with his unglamorous, but brilliant and striking nods toward the depressing and achingly beautiful worlds that Elliott Smith used to gravitate toward, is a sense that the lost souls will still get by. He hints at this by suggesting that, lest we ever forget it, that the winter is still winning, but we're here and we haven't given up completely yet. We might be able to stow ourselves away in our homes, cordoned off from the worst of the icy behavior with our furnaces blasting as hard as they can possibly blast, but sooner or later, we have to go out and get some milk, some bread, go to work or school and that's when we're overtaken once again by the conditions that we cannot ignore. We take the temperatures to task and scold them, cuss them out as if they were groundhogs and moles ripping up our lawns, but like those vermin, the winter turns a deaf ear to any pleas that are made out of emotion. The characters in Gomez's songs are ensnared in an unwinnable fight themselves (perhaps, with themselves as opposed to with the environment or with others), flailing and fretting through all of their spun wheels and spinning heads, just choosing to throw on another layer and pretending that one they're covering - like that coat of pea green paint in the kitchen that the old owners of their new house seemed to love but they've decided to just cover it up with a light shade of apricot - isn't really gone or erased. They've not rid themselves of anything. It's still there, just below the surface. They forget that the fire that they're finding themselves steadily more reliant on with each inch forward will need to be tended to. It will need more chopped wood and it will need more supervision or it will just extinguish itself down to nothing and that overwhelming coldness will sweep back in like a Viking. It's then that the decisions are made - more decisions - and more choices to more hard questions will arise out of the winter's stupor.
Robert Gomez Official Site