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CD Review: Brian Goss--"The Firing Line"

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(2010, BTG Records)

Well, this was unexpected. Brian Goss’s solo debut, The Firing Line, is a genteel, sui generis masterstroke miles removed from his previous work: the noisy acid rock of Dripping Goss, the hardcore of Warzone, and the Les Paul histrionics of Fuzz Deluxe. Unfortunately, the lyrics suggest that Goss had to go through his fair share of hell to get to this level, and a note on his website confirms that the creator “describes it as a record about heartbreak, perseverance and conciliation.” From the majestic, quietly shimmering opening chords of “Trainwreck in Your Eyes,” one is transported to a hermetic world peopled with characters named—“Tina,” “Hey Marianne,” “Gig,” “Mary’s Leather Clown”—and unnamed—the son in “Trainwreck,” the estranged lover in “Time to Fold,” and the nemesis (“I’m a criminal, made her heavy”) in the title track.

Occasionally, the stories are cryptic, and Goss’s frequent faux-Brit accent seems borrowed from his brother, who spent time in London; but overall there’s an enchanting, dream-like quality that makes The Firing Line perfect for late-night drives and bleary mornings after. Soaking in Goss’s melancholy seems a bit perverse, but it’s sonically rewarding just the same. Goss’s voice is at the center of this journey, but contributions from his brother Tom (drums), Jane Scarpantoni (cello), Adam Widoff (keyboards), Simone Felice (vocals), and others make The Firing Line not such a lonely place after all. www.briangossmusic.com.

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