Gaz Coombes


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It's too easy to peg Matador as the maturation of the notorious teenage rocker Gaz Coombes, but it's also inaccurate. Coombes began flirting with introspection early on in Supergrass' career, eventually dedicating the entirety of 2005's Road to Rouen to reflection. Matador often plays a bit like a decade-delayed sequel to that 2005 minor masterwork, maintaining a similar sense of reserve that sometimes belies the adventure that lies underneath the shimmering surface. Often, the deliberate tempos and hushed dynamics on Matador skirt the edge of melancholy; this isn't a sad record, it's a consoling one, Coombes creating comfort out of remnants of Krautrock and acoustic balladry. Occasionally, he'll tip the scale in one direction or the other -- the opening "Buffalo" makes an impression with its skittering rhythms, "The English Ruse" percolates on a two-note pulse, while "The Girl Who Fell to Earth" is patented folkie psychedelia -- but soon Coombes reveals he finds no separation between the two; the electronica is firmly interwoven within the sculpted songs and vice versa. This means Matador may initially seduce with its slow, enveloping assurance but the reason it lasts are those songs, as exquisitely crafted and enduring as anything in Coombes' rich catalog.

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