Here Is...

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Gosling are the reincarnation of Loudermilk, a Washington-based hard rock act that released one album on Dreamworks in 2002. The personnel may remain the same for both groups (no additions or subtractions occurred in the revamp), but listening to Gosling's V2 debut, Here Is..., one can understand the need for the name adjustment. Whereas Loudermilk could pretty comfortably fit in with the rest of the post-grunge pack, Gosling would be something of an outsider. The band could mingle contentedly enough at the same parties, but would presumably be much happier and at home drinking in low-key bars with the likes of the White Stripes or Muse as company. Classic rock seems to have a heavy hand in influencing the Gosling lads, though there's a different sort of attitude and swagger in their approach that permeates most every track and gives them a nice modern kick. The terrific "Mr. Skeleton Wings" recalls a snider, punkier, and much less expansive Muse, while the foreboding jangle of "The Burnout" breaks from urgent dramatics with a loose chorus and near-Billy Joel moment toward the song's end. Davey Ingersoll's pinched voice has small hints of Billy Corgan, but more often implements a kind of lazy delivery akin to that of Jack White. In addition to tasteful intermittent brass and string additions, the band spikes songs with minor blues flavoring, dramatic flair, and heavy-handed piano usage that snake through distorted guitars and dark basslines, giving Here Is... an ominous overall aura. That's not to say the record is all based in shadows, though, since lighter moments like the harmony-laden "Come into My Room," the blithely acoustic "Stealing Stars," and the minimalist beauty of "Afraid of Nineveh" are just as much standouts. The four members of Gosling, who grew up together in Tri-Cites, WA, have been playing collectively in various forms for quite a while now. Consequently, Here Is... is made all more satisfying knowing that they've finally hit their musical mark dead-on.

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