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Trolley Hotline



Don’t laugh; in England, there really is a number you can call to report an unattended shopping cart. Unfortunately, the title might be the most interesting thing about Gomez’s latest. Straight outta Sheffield, the post-blooze-meets-Rubber Soul mix-up of the band’s debut, Bring It On, went next-big-thing via the Mercury Prize. A solid follow-up, Liquid Skin, managed to keep the group’s forward momentum by heading down darker, spacier Penny Lanes. With fans on both sides of the pond now muttering “Gomez” with ever-increasing levels of reverence, this 15-track compilation feels like market-driven exploitation. The dire nature of these remixes, leftovers, B-sides, and one-off goofs bears that out: Odds & Sods it ain’t. The “gem” of the set is Gomez’s take on the Fabs’ “Getting Better,” which was used in a recent series of Philips Electronics TV ads, although this version is apparently different from the one that made the Napster rounds earlier this year. Whatever. The song is so bland that only the hardest-core Gomeheads could possibly care which it is. The collection’s most compelling selections are, not surprisingly, alternate versions of songs that appeared on the band’s first two records: “We Haven’t Turned Around” gets fed through the “Strawberry Fields Forever” blender, and “78 Stone Wobble” is “78 Stone Shuffle,” transformed into a skittery tic during a live BBC take. Beyond that pair of tracks and a couple of semi-interesting B-sides (“Rosemary” and “Emergency Surgery”), however, there is little of the usual Gomez quality. But how much can you reasonably expect from a disc that begins with a track titled “Shitbag 9”? —Patrick Foster