Hot Fruit Recordings/Kobalt Label Services
As leader of the groovy British trio Supergrass, Gaz Coombes was responsible for insanely catchy tunes that blended the muscular force of heavy metal with the insistent charm of vintage power pop. Even if you don’t know the band’s classic “Caught by the Fuzz” by name, you’ve surely heard (and probably loved) it. On his own, Coombes has added new elements to his arsenal without abandoning his strengths. Finally getting a proper Stateside release after being available elsewhere last year, his enthralling second solo album finds the lad exploring his epic tendencies, crafting sweeping pieces that nod more than a little to Queen and David Bowie at their grandiose ’70s best. (There’s even a song entitled “The Girl Who Fell to Earth”). Oddly, however, Matador never feels self-indulgent, thanks to Coombes’ unpretentious, slightly raspy singing and unfailing knack for twisty, inventive melodies. Two fine live tracks tacked on as a bonus prove Coombes isn’t just a creature of the studio, but his high drama requires no apologies.