You WILL buy this album.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You will buy Liquid Skin. You will then pop it into your CD player and turn it up too loud because Hangover starts our rather quiet. You will enjoy both Hangover and Revolutionary Kind. Then Bring It On will come on and you will finally start to get it. Next comes Blue Moon Rising that you will underrate at first, along with Las Vegas Dealer. Brace yourself, because We Haven't Turned Around is next, and it will blow you away. It might take until about halfway through the song when it comes back from a beautiful string interlude with slightly distorted guitars. Then comes Fill My Cup, the overdrive on the bass will intrigue you, but it will not really compare to the album version of Rhythm & Blues Alibi. Next comes Rosalita which can only be described as damn beautiful. California is rather long, but you will be too caught up in it to really notice. Last comes Devil Will Ride, which should just bring about a perfect end to one of the best albums in recent history. You will have just spent almost an hour of your life that you will wish you could get back to and relive, because it will never sound as awe-inspiring as that first time. You will eventually get to know the album like the back of your hand. It will play through your mind all the time, but it will never be able to surprise you as it did that first listen. And you will never be the same."
Only slight sophomore slump
Mark T. R. Donohue | Boulder, CO | 03/04/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I initially got a hold of Gomez's second album, it was after a solid year of listening to their debut Bring It On almost every single day. In retrospect it's inevitable that Liquid Skin sounded like a disappointment at the time. Most of the tracks here are more pastiches than songs, as Gomez tries to blur their influences to the point where true originality comes out on the other end. In 2001 it seemed like overproduced mush, but time (and the iTunes shuffle feature) has been kind to Liquid Skin.
"We Haven't Turned Around" is kind of an obvious attempt to write an epic anthem on the scale of "You Can't Get Always Get What You Want" or the like; its string sections seem forced and it goes on for twice as long as it needs to. I much prefer the loopy "Strawberry Fields"-quoting version on the Gomez b-sides anthology Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline. Aside from that, the bulk of Liquid Skin is densely layered but ultimately rewarding.
"Las Vegas Dealer" transforms from a blues shuffle to a 6/8 carnival background. "Fill My Cup" marries Motorhead fuzz bass to an insistent, syncopated sing-songy guitar hook. "Blue Moon Rising" has a woozy, witch-doctor bassline and furious drumming from Gomez's secret weapon Olly Peacock. "Hangover" even manages to find a non-cliche application for electric sitar. The vocals, shared equally by gravelly-voiced Ben Ottewell, indie pinup Ian Ball, and the nondescript Tom Gray, find fewer easy hooks than on the debut but use the stylistic differences between the three to better effect. Nobody in Gomez writes particularly great lyrics, but that's sort of besides the point here.
If you've never heard the band before, I would certainly advise turning to Bring It On or the more recent Split the Difference as a primer. Liquid Skin is more of a grower, but in time you may well find it the home to your favorite Gomez song. I can listen to "Las Vegas Dealer" over and over again. If the idea of a jam band with no instrumental soloists appeals to you, you should definitely see them live as well."