A stone’s throw away from the Hanford nuclear waste dump on the eastern side of Washington state lies Tri-Cities. It’s not known for much (except maybe its proximity to an ecological disaster in the making), but hometown darlings Gosling, with their penchant for over-the-top showmanship, may be about to change that with, Here Is…, their debut full-length. Like the radioactive son of Queen and Harvey Danger, Gosling combine an arena-ready sound with indie sensibility in crafting their ambitious brand of rock n’ roll. Davey Ingersoll and his band mates invite listeners to believe again in the power of a catchy chorus and all of its glory, achieving a sound that strives for more than the familiar but still wears its influences well.
Here Is… bulges with Queen-worthy guitars as Ingersoll’s vocal dramatics prove he may just be the rightful heir to the throne of the late, great Freddie Mercury. It might be an understatement to say that Ingersoll intones with the utmost confidence. I’d venture to say that cockiness might be a little more accurate, but it certainly works to his advantage. Gosling flaunts their youthful exuberance unapologetically in a way sure to reverberate far beyond their humble origins.
The aptly titled “Intro” starts things off pompously enough, with 43 seconds of stuttering guitar riffs that quickly segue into the outright braggadocio of “Mr. Skeleton Wings.” Along with the piano romp of “Worm Waltz,” the back porch burner “Half-Awake” and Ingersoll’s humorous tale of “The Burnout,” the first half of the album sizzles with self-importance and gripping, yet effective dynamics. At the midway point, though, the boys turn down the noise and stretch themselves a little thin for the ballads “Come Into My Room” and “Stealing Stars.” “Waiting For The Sun” is a welcome return to form, with synchronous guitar riffs reminiscent of “Killer Queen.”
The acoustic “Afraid of Nineveh” verges on campy with its coming of age analogy in which Ingersoll compares his life story to, you guessed it, Jonah and the whale. But the last three tracks return with a welcome tenacity and over-indulgence promised by the album’s first half. The title track rides a sludgy guitar procession and Ingersoll’s scathing indictment of his hometown and unabashed confidence in his band: “Line up the junkies and the white trash/ `Cause here is something that will last.”
While Gosling prove they can shred with the best of them, true to their name, they are still a young goose. Some tender care and work on their balladry should ensure the feathers grow in right. Given a little time, I’m willing to bet Gosling will take flight and break free from hometown shackles as they fly toward the horizon and the success that surely lies beyond.
Queen – News Of The World
Harvey Danger – Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?
Ghostland Observatory – Paparazzi Lightning