While the sounds of British classic rock are timeless, contemporary bands have continued to update the music by combining forms and adding personal flair. However, few musicians truly excel at modernizing the style while remaining timeless. This does not seem to be an issue for Oxford-based musician Gaz Coombes. Always a major talent in the realm of alternative rock, the former frontman for Britpop bands the Jennifers and Supergrass, Gareth Michael “Gaz” Coombes seems to have nearly outdone himself with this latest album Matador.
The 2015 record Matador is a powerful one that is crafted with over two decades of musical experience and growth. The record—heartfelt and genuinely written—always seems to remain at the cusp of multiple emotions, allow its listener to feel so powerfully the emotions Coombes was experiencing during the song’s conception and performance. Matador is amazingly diverse, with sounds of psychedelica and electronica mixing artfully with classic rock.
Songs like “Is it On?” and “Oscillate” are trippy, using looped sound effects and repetition to create an interesting sound. Fast-paced tracks like “The English Ruse” and “Needle’s Eyes” are complimented by the more mellow songs such as “To the Wire” and “Buffalo,” though both types are equally as powerful, with rising guitar riffs and crooning vocals. Though a heavy rock sound dominates the album, the stand-out tracks include “The Girl Who Fell to Earth” and “Seven Walls,” which are slower and softer, yet arguably the most emotionally charged. Coombes’s lyrics are passionately written, complemented by his interesting use of synthesizer, heavy-hitting guitar riffs, and genuine-sounding vocals.
While his sounds are mostly reminiscent of classic rock bands, his voice is similar to that of fellow British alternative rock musician Matt Bellamy, making Gaz Coombes a great new musician for fans of Muse. His newest work only improves upon his past musical endeavors, a trend that one can only hope continues. Fans of classic rock and contemporary alternative—British and American alike—would certainly enjoy Matador as Coombes gains traction and, hopefully, starts touring in the States.
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