Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Robert Gomez offers us Pine Sticks and Phosphorus

To call Robert Gomez's musical past colorful would be an understatement. A guitarist from a young age, Gomez made his first real introduction into pop music in college with underground mambo band Latin Pimps which lasted only a short while, after which he recorded a jazz album under his own name, got bored, started singing, and eventually produced his first singer/songwriter record. After that, he toured with the circus for a while (no, seriously - click on 'about'), released another album and then toured with Midlake for a bit. That brings us to 2009, where Gomez has recently released his third album, entitled Pine Sticks and Phosphorus, a quirky, low-key pop album that strays far from Gomez's jazz/mambo background into more experimental indie folk territory.

I haven't had the opportunity to check out Gomez's earlier work, but if it took all those musical adventures to lead him to where he is now, they were certainly worth the time and energy. Pine Sticks and Phosphorus is a lovely, understated gem full of subtle emotion and exquisite textures, featuring some stunning instrumental arrangements that make for a very unique singer/songwriter album. Many of the tunes on Phosphorus actually include Gomez's guitar as just another part of the background for his soft voice and gentle melodies, like opener "On This Day," which is carried by a simple piano line and percussion, or the ethereal "Hunting Song." His skills with the six-string are evident if one listens closely, however, and they occasionally come to prominence on cuts like the noisier "Behind A Green Rosette."

The album's most gorgeous cut is the lovely duet, "Fireflies," a late highlight presented with appropriate simplicity and restraint. It's the best representation of the talent Gomez possesses for songwriting and arranging that makes Pine Sticks and Phosphorus a genuinely great record. The music may take a few listens to fully differentiate itself, but offers plenty of rewards in return. Hear some music from Robert Gomez on his MySpace page and download "On This Day" and "Middle of Nowhere" below.

On This Day (MP3)

Middle of Nowhere (MP3)