Friday Jukebox: 20/20

by Steve

Solo projects aren’t often as good as what preceded them, but they are often more interesting. Freed up from the committee decisions and the compromises, the solo artist can try all those things they couldn’t do before, wander down a few new avenues, experiment, take risks, go wrong and not worry about it, not get corrected or steered back on course.

This from Gaz Coombes, formerly of Supergrass, is not just interesting, it is great. As much as Supergrass seemed on the poppier end of the Britpop spectrum, they grew into a far more complex and novel band over the years, not afraid to take some proggy turns without getting too earnest about the whole thing. Coombes continues that work as solo artist.

20/20 has plenty of twists and turns, it feels like three songs welded into one, yet it flows beautifully. A naggingly appealing melody, shifts in rhythm, odd instrumental breaks, Coombes and his band summon up a load of great hooks presented in unusual ways. A skewed, hard-to-grasp guitar pop that stands out on the radio but also withstands multiple listens.

This is one way to keep guitar music interesting. This is a fine example of how going alone doesn’t necessarily lead to listless indulgence. 20+ years into his career and Coombes is still creating vital music.

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