Gomez -- Five Men in a Hut (A's, B's & Rarities: 1998-2004) (Capitol/EMI)

Gomez burst into the public consciousness eight years ago with their startling debut, Bring It On, a dazzling blend of psychedelic Blues, British Folk and propulsive Pop that earned the UK quintet

 
Gomez — Five Men in a Hut (A's, B's & Rarities: 1998-2004)



Gomez burst into the public consciousness eight years ago with their startling debut, Bring It On, a dazzling blend of psychedelic Blues, British Folk and propulsive Pop that earned the UK quintet the coveted Mercury Music Prize. Although the band has amassed a fairly sizable cult following in the U.S., their success at home has been more substantial, fueled by a string of chart-topping singles featuring otherwise unreleased B-sides. That strategy may spark domestic sales of Five Men in a Hut, a double-disc collection of British singles and their largely unavailable back-sides. Even the A-sides have collector appeal; "Whippin' Piccadilly" appears in its Turbo remixed version, "Rhythm and Blues Alibi" is featured without its signature Mellotron and three others are single/radio edits. But it's the 16 B-sides that will have stateside Gomez fans breathing hard; the thumping acid Blues of "Champagne for Monkeys," the dancehall toss-off "Old School Shirt," the atmospheric chug of "Mississippi Boweevil Blues," the Electronic Folk continuum of "Silhouettes," the Folk/Blues shuffle "Pick Up the Pieces." There are also a pair of unreleased tracks unique to the collection; the honking mad jam "Diskoloadout" and the gently buzzed piano ballad "Old China," both pleasant enough but neither essential. A lot of bands' B-sides are studio sketches that never quite gelled, but Gomez has generally put the full weight of their creative efforts into everything they've released, so Five Men in a Hut is an essential piece of the catalog for U.S. fans. (BB) Grade: A-

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