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Five Men In a Hut - A's, B's and Rarities - 1998-2004

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Album Review

Five Men in a Hut is basically the final roundup for Gomez's Hut/Virgin years, but it's a positive boon for fans, especially in the U.S. In the U.K., each Gomez album had at least a few associated singles, but they never got the same treatment stateside. Since each album had a certain specific "sound" to it, one can see how some of these songs wouldn't have fit with the album they were recorded with, but the B-sides were hardly throwaways. In fact, the B-sides were often excellent and allowed the band to try different things and stretch out a bit. Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline gathered a few of these tracks, but more than half of Five Men in a Hut is comprised of B-sides (and two previously unreleased tunes) so ultimately all the A's and B's of many of these singles are now readily available. Each disc of this set is packed with music; it would have been difficult to include much more. Highlights include the country-ish "Tanglin'," "Best in Town," and the hilarious "Dire Tribe." There's a wonderful cover of Charley Patton's "Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues" and they put a horn section to good use on "Chicken Bones." "Air Hostess Song" borders on electronica, as does the vocodered "ZYX." Since each album was different from the others, it's really interesting to hear all the different Gomez sounds together on the same album. This would make an excellent introduction to the band, but it's at least as exciting for the longtime fan (if not more so) since more than half of this material has been difficult if not impossible to track down. Ultimately, excluding the alternate mixes of album tracks and live cuts that weren't included here, there are only seven remaining songs that exist only on singles. Songs like "Who's Gonna Go to the Bar," the epic, sprawling "Gomez in a Bucket," and the vinyl-only "Wham Bam" will apparently remain unavailable, but Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline and Five Men in a Hut together will satisfy all but the most rabid Gomez collector. Five Men in a Hut is a great summation of this fantastic band's early years.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Southport, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Gomez are a five-piece British act consisting of Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitar), Tom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Paul Blackburn (bass, guitar), Olly Peacock (drums), and Ian Ball (vocals, guitar, harmonica). Emerging during a time in which the majority of up-and-coming British bands were either retro-pop (à la Oasis), trip-hop (Portishead), or space rock (the Verve, Radiohead), Gomez were one of the few to feature bluesy influences. The Southport boys' debut for Virgin Records, Bring It On,...
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Five Men In a Hut - A's, B's and Rarities - 1998-2004, Gomez
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