To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its initial 1998 release, Gomez's Mercury Music Prize winning debut, Bring It On has been remastered and is being reissued on gatefold double LP. Bring It On realized the possibilities of combining indie and roots music with lo-fidelity electronics: a modern experimental sensibility with a love of the past. It was an album that synthesized styles in a way that seemed remarkable then, and now sounds utterly unforced and contemporary. Where so many of its contemporaries sound completely of their time, Bring It On sounds as if it could have come out to equal acclaim at any point over the past 20 years.
Bring It On sounds as if it's been made by kids who've been exploring the outer expanses of Spotify, scouring it for unlikely sources rather than four lads in a Southport garage, and the fella they met at university. Though, in a way, Bring It On is the pre-streaming version of that very process, bringing together all the five members' tastes, without ever allowing one style to dominate. You can hear their love of so much different music: Tom Waits, Tim Buckley, Prince, Talking Heads, Johnny Cash, Portishead, The Chemical Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, jazz, folk, indie, the West Coast and classic rock. Between them, Ian Ball, Ben Ottewell, Tom Gray, Paul Blackburn and Olly Peacock created something that was far more than the sum of its parts.
Bring It On had an immediate impact and influence. Chris Martin admired the album so much that Coldplay hired producer Ken Nelson to helm their first album. Indeed, without some of Gomez's freewheeling influence, it's much harder to imagine the British music scene making a comfortable home for the innovating likes of Alt-J, Everything Everything and Field Music, or across the pond where subsequent harmony bands blending indie, antifolk and art rock have thrived. Bring It On went on to win 1998's Mercury Music Prize, beating Pulp, Massive Attack, Cornershop and The Verve, the judges describing the album as "an intriguing blend of swamp blues, bar-room rock and eerie power."
It remains their landmark and the introduction to their singular nature. The band will be playing the album in its entirety on all of their upcoming tour dates in the U.K., Ireland, Australia and North America.