Indie-Rock outfit Gomez celebrate the 20th anniversary of platinum selling album Liquid Skin. Releasing a remastered edition of the record, it sounds as individual and against the grain today as when it was released 20 years ago.
As the record kicks in, Gomez’s anti-Britpop sound is out in full force, with track ‘Hangover’ showcasing a distinct folk/rock hybrid of wailing guitars and pounding drum beats. Within the tracks climax it breaks into an acoustic showcase, giving the track something of a grandiose feel. Following track ‘Revolutionary Kind’ maintains the albums the acoustic soul of the record, whilst synth notes permeate the track, demonstrating the band’s ability to contort genre as well as the influence of dance and electro. The Kurt Cobain-esque vocals of frontman Ian Ball allow the track to maintain a strong foothold within the American influenced alternative rock genre.
This is not to state the album doesn’t showcase a somewhat more sensitive side. Tracks such as ‘Blue Moon Rising’ wonderfully illustrates the rock and folk hybrid of the record. The crunch of electric guitar scattered throughout the background of the track provides a deep contrast with the more melodic tones of the acoustic guitar that’s placed at the forefront of the track. This tone is maintained as the album reaches its later half with tracks such as ‘We Haven’t Turned Around’. This brings the album to somewhat of a more down-beat sound, which is in stark juxtaposition to the albums overall jaunty nature. With this track the vocal delivery is at its most bluesy and gravely, giving an air of American familiarity. A strings section permeates the track, with the soaring strings of violin highlight a sense of musical maturity.
Bringing the sound of the album back to the upbeat tempo is track ‘Rhythm and Blues Alibi’. Accompanying the country sound of the guitar sound is dance-beat, continuing the genre-bending sound that Gomez so wonderfully demonstrate throughout the course of the LP. The aforementioned guitar tones takes control of the track, and drives the track foreword to be somewhat of a standout within the album.
The album draws to a close with the somewhat slow-tempoed ‘Devil Will Ride’. This is the pinnacle of the record in a musical sense, with the track incorporating a vast array of guitar sounds as well as incorporating more electronic influences. As the horn-section is incorporated into the tracks closing stages, it furthers a somewhat jazz sound that permeates small sections of the record, but is perhaps best showcased within this track.
This is not to state that the 20th release of the record is solely focused upon the record itself. A vast array of demos as well as live recordings of the track provide a unique insight into not only the recording of the record but also a view of the band opposing traditional guitar music at the height of Britpop.
Overall, Gomez’s ‘Liquid Skin’ is as powerful and grandiose today as when it was released 20 years ago. A unique take on guitar music and a blend of various styles and genres, it acts as an insight into the other side of 1990’s guitar music. Combining this with the vast array of newly released demos, it is easy to see why the album is worthy of the 20 year re-release.