The perfect snapshot of a creative leader in full stride.
Label: Caroline International
Released: 4th May 2018
It’d be unfair to talk about Gaz Coombes as ‘that singer from Supergrass’. Yes, he arguably led one of the most beloved British bands of the past two decades through landmarks of success and glory, but in 2018 – it’d be a bit of a disservice to class him as simply that. It’s because Gaz has been going through a sort-of blossoming purple patch with his foray as a solo artist, with previous solo album ‘Matador’ scooping Mercury nominations and vast acclaim with his textured and instant earworms. That freedom and confidence that came from its success is written in huge letters across ‘World’s Strongest Man’, his most experimental and bold LP to date – capturing the sound of a man thriving with his unfiltered creativity.
At its core is Gaz’s undeniable knack for creating glorious hooks, pierced through with his distinctive soaring voice – a voice that flicks, changes and grooves into new directions on the title track itself. Classic and brilliant pop cuts are spiced and amplified by the sound of Gaz going through a Mary Poppins-esque bag of tricks and flourishes, from ‘Slow Motion Life’ that builds from delicate piano singalong to a stadium-sized roar, ‘Deep Pockets’ and its rollicking drive manage to sound like a joyous throwback and undeniably fresh at the same time – whilst ‘In Waves’ twitches and explodes with the sort of frantic angst that could sit like a lost 90s Radiohead number. Feeling like a Hollywood classic, drenched in hip-hop production and tight highs, it’s a record dense in ideas and visions whilst cutting straight to the point as wondrous pop perfection.
With more swagger and power than anything released in his career so far, ‘World’s Strongest Man’ is the perfect snapshot of a creative leader in full stride, and one of the most interesting and infectious record of the year because of it. Jamie Muir