Audio Mixer: Tchad Blake.
Recording information: Band House Studios, North Hollywood, CA; Hollywood Sound Studios, Hollywood, CA; Leggy Mountbatten Studios, Santa Monica, CA.
Editor: Paul Koch.
Photographer: Piper Ferguson.
The first thing that hits one while listening to Max Gomez's debut album Rule the World is his voice, which sounds much older than a 23-year-old's, which is how old Gomez was upon the album's release. Sounding calm, unassuming, weary, and wise, he sings with the kind of balance and unhurried phrasing of a Townes Van Zandt, say, and his songs, which at first seem like fairly ordinary singer/songwriter fare, have a dark edge to them at times, and a natural grace and flow that are rare at any age. Although there is some stylistic and instrumental variety in this playlist, from the swampy blues feel of "Ball and Chain" to the folky "What It Means" and the pop-like "Love Will Find a Way," Gomez's voice and singing don't really vary that much from track to track, which is a minor problem, although the songs have a sturdy and world-weary grace that makes them the real stars in this setting, and good songs will always find a voice. This is a promising debut. ~ Steve Leggett