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“This is a record that I’ve been building up to for the last seven years,” says Gaz Coombes. Turn The Car Around is a record of feeling, an album that captures the ups and downs of modern life and all the small print in between. Gaz Coombes has emerged from the studio with the best work of his illustrious career.

Towards the end of the wonderful new album by Gaz Coombes, there is a lyric that perfectly sums up where the 46-year-old’s head is at. It’s halfway through beatific, soaring closer Dance On that Coombes softly croons, “There’s just some days you feel like going back, but the only way is straight ahead.” It’s a lyric that aptly frames Coombes’ approach to making music over the past decade, a road that has led to Turn The Car Around, his fourth record as a solo artist. It’s an album that both taps into the sonic palettes and lyrical themes of its predecessors – 2012’s Here Comes The Bombs, 2015’s Mercury-nominated Matador and 2018’s World’s Strongest Man – at the same time as carving a new way forward for one of the UK’s most gifted and cherished singer-songwriters. “There’s a lot of subject matter in there that I’ve played with and maybe not managed to see through in the past. I’ve evolved and I feel like I’ve got better at what I do,” he says.

Gaz Coombes

But hold on, you’re probably thinking. No going back? Straight ahead? Is this the same Gaz Coombes who’s been fronting his old band Supergrass for a series of triumphant reunion shows over the past couple of years, taking in huge shows at the likes of London’s Alexandra Palace, jaunts to the US and a heady Glastonbury set that was watched from the side of the stage by Billie Eilish? Yes, it is that Gaz Coombes, but it also isn’t. “I feel most satisfied by creative growth, and the reunion has clashed with that approach at times,” he explains. “I knew that Supergrass was a case of live performances, and I’m so glad we ended up doing the reunion. Playing all those songs for the fans again was a special experience. But I knew that there would be a side of me that wasn’t necessarily fulfilled creatively, and so writing was always going to be a key part of keeping that balance. I wrote music throughout the whole reunion.”