Split the Difference, the fourth album from Gomez, is a real return to basics for the band. The rampant sonic experimentalism that characterized In Our Gun is largely absent (although there are some excellent details down in the mix) in favor of some straight-up rock & roll. Working with someone outside the band for the first time, Gomez brought in Tchad Blake, and the result is their most straightforward rock album yet. The songs are lean, filled with great melodies, singalong choruses, and their trademark vocal harmonies. And there are some big sounds on this album, with some of the most muscular bass playing heard yet on a Gomez album, and killer guitar sounds: for instance, the super-crunchy overdriven guitar on "Where Ya Going?" that sounds more like a squall than a solo. Also, Olly Peacock's drumming should not go unmentioned, giving the songs just what they need, from the great shuffle groove of "These 3 Sins" to the driving "Where Ya Going?"; the man is a tasteful powerhouse. Gomez is a guitar band (count 'em, three guitar players), but they are nothing remotely resembling a jam band, despite having fans from that community. There is no endless jamming, or even prominent guitar solos to speak of. Actually, without really sounding like it at all, Split the Difference has the feel of Exile on Main St., in that it covers practically every kind of roots rock/rock & roll idiom with a certain effortlessness, all filtered through Gomez's strong personality. The Junior Kimbrough cover, "Meet Me in the City" drives this analogy home (not to mention "Sweet Virginia"), providing something of a similar change-of-pace interlude as "I Just Want to See His Face" off Exile, with both being positioned about two-thirds of the way into the album. The first two singles, "Catch Me Up" and "Silence" are catchy rockers, while "Sweet Virginia" (not the Stones' song) and "There It Was" should satisfy those who enjoy ballads like "Tijuana Lady" (which should not always be taken at face value with Gomez, by the way). Actually, there's not a weak song on the entire album. For those who have been waiting for Gomez to come up with something that truly rivals their amazing debut Bring It On, wait no longer. This one is great.
AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard