Whatever's On Your Mind
Four of the band’s five members contribute to the writing process which might account for the multiple musical avenues. The group also employs three singers and uses both traditional and electric instruments. As the writing process began for Whatever’s On Your Mind the band wasn’t even in the same room. The collaboration took place electronically as band members uploaded demos and tweaked each others work online, a process band member Ian Ball refers to as being more efficient and creative. After coming up with nearly 80 songs Gomez narrowed the group down to ten then headed into a studio in Virginia for the final recording process. Joining them as co-producer is Sam Farrar.
The album kicks off with “Options,” a track that features the kind of catchy melody and clever lyrics that first won the band attention and a Mercury Award in 1998. However, the cheery attitude is a bit of a departure for a band known for its moodier side. Gomez finds a balance between the ebullient and the minor-key tension in the second track “I Will Take You There.” “Just as Lost As You” finds Ben Ottewell’s ragged vocals juxtaposed against lush strings. His voice is the best known of the three singers and it is his leads that stand out as strongest on the album. Ian Ball and Tom Gray’s vocals don’t carry the weight of their band mate’s voice, which gives less traction to their tracks.