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I did not follow Gomez much through their first few albums. I was very familiar with them because my brother is a big fan, but I never spent much time listening to them. From what I am able to gather, How We Operate is slower than the four albums previously released by the quintet from the UK. Ben Ottewell, Ian Ball, and Tom Gray all try their hand at lead vocals. The tag-team approach works well in some instances, but poorly in others. There are a few great songs on it, but the album as a whole is decent but not great. To me it is an album that if on, I'll listen to it, but I will not necessarily suggest it get played (in its entirety anyway). This album is an example of why iTunes is so practical. Gone are the days when we would buy this album just to have the few good songs. Now we can just buy them individually and spare ourselves the rest.
01. Notice This is a solid first track. Lead singer Ben Ottewell softens his (signature) gritty voice well for this slower song. There is some twangy guitar in the background that may be a bit much for this song, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say good song.
02. See The World This is probably my favorite song right now. I cannot seem to get enough of it. This is just a great "feel good" track that can lift you out of most, if not any, slumps - if only for 4 minutes... Favorite song right now, but maybe only my second favorite track on the album. Go figure.
03. How We Operate This album's title track may have been better placed at the beginning or end of the CD. I think the change in mood from track two to three and then to number four is too up and down. The song is ok; nothing remarkable, good or bad.
04. Hamoa Beach This is a good song. It seems to grow on me more each time I hear it. I really enjoy the lyrics in this song, maybe the most (start to finish) of all the songs on this album.
05. Girlshapedlovedrug This is my pick for best song on the album. I like the slow feel of the album brought to a boil a little with this song. The tempo is picked up a bit from the other tracks and it works well. This is a good foot-tapper.
06. Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol My suggestion would have been to release the album with only eleven tracks and leave this one off. The song starts poorly and seems to only get worse. Remember the tempo I talked about on the last track? Gone. Zero. When is something going to happen in this song?! Careful what you wish for...because you get an earful of screechy guitar feedback to wake you up from the gentle slumber the first two minutes of the song forced you into.
07. Tear Your Love Apart This is another song that is growing on me. I cannot put my finger on it yet, but it sounds a little too much like something hidden in the back of my mind. Until I can pinpoint it, the song gets thumbs up. Hard to imagine they picked up the pace since the last song...
08. Charley Patton Songs This song is decent. I think the lead sounds a little too much like Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service, for my taste. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the work he does on both projects, but I don't want to have to listen to Gomez to enjoy his sound.
09. Woman! Man! This is another track that showcases the lead vocals well. The song does so well until the chorus. "Shalalala woman. Shalalala man." Does nothing for me. Some reviews I have read celebrate this as the band's ability to not take themselves seriously. Unfortunately I don't take them seriously either for the same simple hook.
10. All Too Much This song is decent. I like the pace and the vocals, but the guitar is a little too dominant at times. Turn it down a little bit and let me focus on vocals and I think we've got a good song.
11. Cry On Demand This is a sleeper track hidden near the end of the album. I hate to sound like a broken record, but the guitar gets to be too much again, but the two- or three-part harmony employed sounds great; I would absolutely recommend they write more sings in this style.
12. Don't Make Me Laugh Death Cab meets a down-on-the-range (country) guitar sound. Weird that I have now eluded to Death Cab twice. Anyway, with an album that has its ups and downs with tempo, I had hoped they would end on a high note... I'll just have to get used to disappointment.
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