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British guitar bands that offer more than expensive haircuts and fancy trousers can be a rare find. Enter North England's Gomez. Their 1998 debut, Bring it On, beat out the Verve's Urban Hymns and Massive Attack's Mezzanine (both fine albums in their own right) for the U.K.'s prestigious Mercury Music Prize Album Of The Year. Their music braids vines of organic roots music with strands of bubbly dance production, but their songs tend to stick closer to the soil than the dancefloor. Three singers and two drummers mean a lot of ground can be explored, and Gomez are always willing to go where no Brit has gone before. They've garnered many comparisons to the Band thanks to their innovative take on Americana (MOJO magazine even put them on a cover aping the cover art of The Basement Tapes). One singer barks out lyrics with a warm Eddie Vedderesque rasp, while a second adds your standard, shy-voiced English indie kid, and a third inflects like a very young Tom Waits. Since each one is also a songwriter, the band's best moments feature three different personalities coming together on one soaring vision. And that, good people, is what you call musical chemistry (in it's most pure and dynamic form). With the energy, enthusiasm and passion of young people seeing the world for the first time, they weave in and out of Beatle-inspired power pop, bluesy laments, triumphant rockers or extended cosmic jams -- all the while retaining the kinetic Gomez sound.
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