After a few contemplative listens, I firmly believe that Gaz Coombes' anticipated solo release was well worth the wait. Nearly every one of the tracks are masterfully crafted arrangements that fuse electronic loops, beats and sounds with the unmistakeable noise of the Burns as well as the conventional instrumentation layered throughout. The pop sensibility inherent in most of Gaz Coombes' music throughout the years is evident in countless thumping bass lines, rolling melodies, memorable, hook-laden choruses and explosive transitions from verse to refrain to bridge... It really is quite good on so many levels. The descriptions in the brilliantly-written first review summed up many of my feelings about the release as well as the years leading up to this moment, so I'll attempt to review the songs instead.
The title track is a subdued and haunting lead in for what is to come. Using imagery that presents us with the perspective of a bomb breaking away and falling to earth, the sweeping strings and vocals sit atop a metronomic synthetic ticking that is audibly visible as the song begins and ultimately winds down.
Track two, titled Hot Fruit, is anchored by a synth loop that follows the melody throughout the entire song and has enough punch in the chorus to make it worthy of being a single. A soft bridge splits the song, but it soon builds back up to an attack level as it drives towards the conclusion.
The third track, Whore, uses an off-kilter driving beat to stumble gloriously through each verse while treating the listener to choruses made for shaking a tambourine, clapping or just going mental. The title is about the concept of unwanted or unfortunate (but inevitable) compromise in case anyone was looking at the name with trepidation. It is a rocker of a track.
Sub-Divider was released to the public as a free download when the Gaz Coombes Presents website went online, and it is an amazing track. It has two distinct parts (similar in architecture to the way Tales of Endurance was arranged) with the second half taking off towards a climactic end. It is a perfect example of just how amazingly talented Gaz Coombes is when it comes to designing and developing a song.
Universal Cinema is hard to describe as it has some very mellow attributes while hiding a few powerful sections lurking like a demigod riding a rhinoceros into a clearing. The reverb is heavy and the guitar is expertly layered in. There are some nice harmonies, a handful of Beatle-esque backward guitar layers and an abundance of talent evident. This is one to listen to and soak up like a technicolor puddle in the desert.
The next track, Simulator, uses low-gain guitar and a pretty fast tempo to run through each verse only to have the chorus stomp through the experience. It is a fun song and rumored to be the next single following Hot Fruit. This one is another rocking tune that winds down quickly and beautifully at the end.
I saw some video footage of White Noise before the song was released and it stood out as much then as now. It is a somewhat mellow offering that you nod your head to as it winds along. The harmony tracks that ride the current of the lead vocals are really brilliantly done and a few more tastefully inserted backwards guitar effects add to the mix. Not a rocker, but an important asset to the collection.
Fanfare may appeal to some, so I won't poison the review with anything overly negative. It is very synth oriented (not a bad thing in itself, so don't get me wrong) and not really sung so much as it is spoken. It is neither a rocker nor a dreamy free-fall... It is my only non-essential in the whole bunch, but we all have our own preferences when it comes to this stuff so we'll leave it at that.
The song Break the Silence returns us to the brilliance that is the Gaz Coombes song writing/delivering experience. The beat is pure pop, the synths are something out of Goldfrapp's best rhythms and the scope is as grand as they come. I think this one could easily have been a great single as it has so many appealing and catchy elements one can't help but get caught up in the thrills.
The instrumental Daydream on a Street Corner is a soft sleepwalk towards the final track. Keyboard oriented and close to a lullaby in the way it is delivered, it sets the tone for the closer.
Sleeping Giant leads the listener towards the dreamy conclusion of a nearly perfect collection of songs from Gaz Coombes. I can sometimes almost hear John Lennon in the vocals, though I'd probably be doing a disservice to Gaz Coombes. It winds things down and when the final notes drop you feel like you've completed a journey.
I've attempted to avoid most comparisons to previous endeavors, but only because I've often hated hideously negative comparisons people make when a band goes in a new direction or a solo effort does not mimic former glory days. Having said that, I can honestly say that Here Come the Bombs was and is a pleasure to listen to.
To find a collection that has a couple great songs is common and to stumble across a release that has a handful of really good songs is rare. The artist who puts out a new offering where nearly every song is really, really good is almost unheard of these days. Gaz Coombes delivered the unheard of with Here Come the Bombs... it is a masterful collection from an immensely talented guy.