Album review: Gaz Coombes – World’s Strongest Man

Album Review: Gaz Coombes

Album Review: Gaz Coombes - Credit: Archant

Coombes’ third solo offers bold and ambitious songwriting that sometimes hits the spot.

Shaped by Grayson Perry’s recent book The Descent Of Man, which Coombes read on holiday, his follow-up to the Mercury Prize-nominated Matador would seem to be carrying a heavy intellectual load, exploring and questioning modern ideas of masculinity and mental health.

This is certainly the former Supergrass frontman’s most personal and confessional record, as the lyrics to lead single Deep Pockets attest.

The words are lashed to a motorik juggernaut of taut, bounding bassline, thumping drum, screeching guitar and synths, which somewhat offsets the profundity.

Second single Walk The Walk is equally enjoyable – a gently-paced melodic strum with sinewy-yet-lush strings distracting from Coombes’ sober meditations on “misguided, delusional men” in power.

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His expeditions with synths and Krautrock don’t always pay dividends, and it doesn’t sustain the same melodic punch as Matador – but it’s a solid enough album.

Standout track Wounded Egos gets it spot on, a whirlwind of layered percussion, glockenspiel, keys, woozy synth and more, all compressed to make a beautiful, fast-paced and hypnotic backdrop to a charming school choir and Coombes’ lightly raffish vocal.

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Rating: 3/5 stars

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