If Gomez were American, it'd likely be the choice soundtrack for college kids who worship Ben Harper and G. Love in dorm rooms that reek of patchouli. But since the group hails from England, the quintet instead earns its accolades overseas -- such as the Mercury Music Prize for its 1998 debut, Bring It On -- and settles for a cult fan base Stateside.
Not that their tunes are that obscure to warrant such a label. Sounding like the Stereophonics infused with a stoner-rock vibe and psychedelic blues, Gomez's discs -- Bring It On, 1999's Liquid Skin, and 2002's Beta Band-quirky In Our Gun -- are the type of hearty pub albums that fit comfortably next to classic rockers in the jukebox. In fact, although In Our Gun felt a little new-wave-experimental, thanks to the occasional sax freakout or keyboard cry, their 2004 disc, Split the Difference, is firmly rooted in bar-band bluster. Here, the sprawling ideas are pared down to tight, focused songs that lose none of their earthy appeal or incense-flecked aura.