By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
"A lot of it's to do with really simple things, like the range of the song, what key it's in, what fits best...the rhythm of the song," Ottewell says. "Ian's a lot better rhythmic singer than I am, so with songs like that, I just let Ian sing it. But that's not always the case. Sometimes you have to go with what sounds best."
"What sounds best" seems to be a point of contention between critics on both sides of the pond. While the majority of American reviewers have shown slavish devotion, British scribes have been mostly underwhelmed with Gomez's latest.
"There's a bit of ill feeling toward this album in the British press, but nothing really savage yet, so that's good," Ottewell says. In fact, the biggest criticism of Gomez so far is that its music is the emotional equivalent of junk food: There's nothing of real substance for sentimental types to chew on. Indeed, with songs like "Whipping Piccadilly" (about going to a Beck concert and whacking a shoelace against the Piccadilly train-station sign), "Tijuana Lady" (with its nonsensical lyrics like "enchilada desperado days") and "Ruff Stuff" ("Come back/I've been hangin' around in smack bogs, baby"), Gomez isn't exactly exploring the same territory as its tear-soaked countrymen Radiohead and Starsailor. But the criticisms don't bother the band much.
"We don't really listen to [the critics]. It's not going to change who we are or how we make music," Ottewell says. Besides, the boys have greater challenges to face. "Getting over hangovers rates pretty high. And football matches within the band. A member of our crew broke my toe in a challenge."