Gareth “Gaz” Coombes is an Oxford, UK-born and raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member and frontman of renowned British indie rock act Supergrass, who over the course of their 17 years together released six full-length albums — 1995’s I Should Coco, 1997’s In It for the Money 1999’s self-titled, 2002’s Life on Other Planets, 2005’s Road to Rouen and 2008’s Diamond Hoo Ha, all of which landed on the UK Top 20. (Reportedly, the band had written material for a seventh album, just before their breakup, Release the Drones that remains unfinished and unreleased.)
Since Supergrass’ breakup Coombes has released two solo efforts — 2011’s Sam Williams-produced Here Comes the Bombs and his breakthrough 2015, self-produced sophomore album, Matador, which received a Mercury Prize nod thanks to the commercial success of its five singles, as well as critical praise from the likes of Q Magazine and Mojo Magazine. Interestingly, Coombes’ third, full-length album World’s Strongest Man, which is slated for a May 4, 2018 release through Hot Fruit/Caroline International Records was written and recorded at Coombes’ home studio and at Oxford’s Courtyard Studios with co-production with his longtime collaborator Ian Davenport, in a working process that Coombes has compared to being like “editing a novel.” And in som way that shouldn’t be surprising as the album was reportedly inspired by Grayson Perry’s autobiography The Descent of Man, Frank Ocean‘s Blonde, the work of Neu! and hip-hop while at points exploring the effects of unchecked and toxic masculinity among other things — but with a deeply personal bent.
The album’s latest single “Deep Pockets” finds the former Supergrass frontman taking on a decided motorik groove, with the song nodding at Screamadelica and Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, complete with a slick and infectious hook — and the song will likely cement Coombes reputation for crafting mischievously forward thinking and hook driven rock.
The recently released self-directed, filmed and edited video features Coombes in the back of an Uber Pool during one of the oddest and trippiest rides I’ve ever seen, as the Uber Pool picks up a variety of weird characters as the car zooms through Los Angeles — and interestingly enough, for some reason the video reminds me of the paranoid and fucked up sequences during the movie rendition of Comfortably Numb in Pink Floyd’s The Wall. As Coombes says in press notes about the video, “I shot the ‘Deep Pockets’ video on a shoestring, mostly in LA at the end of 2017. The idea came from the lyrics and memories of weird night drives over the years — a never ending car journey laced with paranoia, intermittent hallucinations and unexpected carpooling. I liked the idea of getting together with some fun, interesting people in a cat at night, filming it all and just seeing what happened. “