Album Review: Gaz Coombes - World's Strongest Man

30 April 2018 | 12:07 pm | Christopher H James

"The warning signs emerge right away."

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Gaz Coombes proved on his last album, Matador, that his songwriting is strong enough to adapt from the retro sound of his old band Supergrass into something modern and dynamic.

Here he incorporates heavy guitar effects, pulsing bass and synthesisers, stretching not only the scope of his sound but also his vocals as the opening track is scarred by an unconvincing falsetto that's digitised into a canine whine. The warning signs emerge right away and continue on the angsty Deep Pockets, whose mix is a heavily processed hash of fuzziness and ineffectual punchiness. It sounds like a plea for contemporary relevance, but is more like a vain stab at Primal Scream's XTRMNTR.

The album's not entirely a dead loss, as on Wounded Egos Coombes opens his throat and heart to decry toxic masculinity. It's a well-written song that demands better company. The worst is saved for last in the form of the squawking hissyfit Vanishing Act and the surreal failure of Weird Dreams. While artists should try to develop and attempt new things, World's Strongest Man proves that doing so doesn't always work.