Tag Archives: Gaz Coombes Presents

Spring Offensive – Not Drowning But Waving

This blog claims to be somewhat Oxford-focused, but let’s be honest, we could do better, Gaz Coombes and TEED posts aside. I was planning on going to Truck Festival this year, and in the build-up to it I set about listening to a whole host of bands that were set to be taking to the stage. As it turned out, I couldn’t make the festival, but I had stumbled across a rich vein of brilliant local bands. For today, step forward Spring Offensive.
A few days ago they posted a video for their new single ‘Not Drowning But Waving’ which I wrapped my eyes around for the first time today. While previous music from them has a charming indie-melancholy lilt, this track feels like a step into a slightly different direction. Again, it’s quite a downbeat current running through the track lyrically, but it feels more atmospheric, grander in its scope and execution. They’ve dreamed bigger and brought this track to life in a brilliant way. The track and video feel a lot like Foals’ wondrous ‘Spanish Sahara’, both in the slow building but ultimately glum-euphoria of the end of the track. The video also uses a body of water to carry the storyline, as in ‘Spanish Sahara’. All of this just further wets the appetite for a potential LP down the line. Check out the video below.

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Gaz Coombes Presents… – Here Come The Bombs

Despite what the weatherman may tell you, this is a glorious time of year. There’s always a great plethora of albums released in the April/May/June window, ideally pitched so that an artist/group can run into festival season on the back of new material. It’s similar to the gloriousness of October/November for gig-going as everyone and their nan seem to have nothing better to do than tour their socks off.

It’s been hard to keep up recently with all the great releases, and harder still to find time to write anything. But we must start somewhere, and this is the record that has stuck out most for me in this barrage of new music. First off, let me get my Gaz Coombes cards on the table. His former band, Supergrass, are one of Oxford’s greatest bands. In fact, Gaz et al grew up in Wheatley, an Oxfordshire village where I spent plenty of my formative years. Gaz was often spotted around the village, and I’m pretty sure his brother may have once worked at Oxford Welcome Break’s KFC (where I also worked). Either that, or Gaz was moonlighting due to his untold love of Kentucky Fried Chicken and wanted easy access. There’s something acutely inspirational about having such talented, creative people living in the same obscure geographical location, so I’ve always been proud to reference this point.

Supergrass parted ways after six albums, and Here Come The Bombs is the debut solo album from Gaz Coombes, formerly the lead vocalist and guitarist of Supergrass. The biggest question on approaching the first listen of the album was just how different from the Supergrass sound would it be. The answer is, it’s very much its own beast, and this is a glorious thing.

‘Hot Fruit’ could easily nestle into the Supergrass back catalogue without too much fuss, with its energetic, hook-laden nature; but an electro edge plays around in the back of the track, giving a taste of something that is expanded upon further on.

Tracks like ‘Whore’ and ‘Sub Divider’ expand upon this thought. Guitars still play an important role, particularly in the closing of the tracks, but the journey to this point is often aided and abetted by the sound of keys and percussion.

Coombes has been creating great pop and rock songs for 20+ years, so it’s no surprise to find that the album just grows as it progresses. A track like ‘Simulator’ has such a simple song structure, but Coombes knows how to make it work. It chugs along in the verses, before erupting in the chorus’ with everything combining together. Coombes voice has always been something to admire, it magnificently binds together everything else surrounding it.

Here Come The Bombs is littered with subtle variety that makes it such an addictive listen which is why I seem to find myself continually coming back to it. Towards the end of the record, ‘Break The Silence’ is Coombes attempt at a euphoric sing along moment: “Break the silence/come on/let it go.” It’s not the most beautiful set of lyrics written down, but it just sounds fantastic. Thus rendering the point of all of what I’ve just written pretty pointless, lest to say, this album is well worth 40 minutes of your time. Or some of your hard-earned cash. And the live show should be pretty tasty too. Roll on October/November.

Here’s a little taste of the album – ‘Break The Silence’