This is my first review for Liverpool Acoustic, and I was feeling a certain amount of trepidation about it – I’d never heard of singer-songwriter David Goss, and I was worried that his album might be a load of drippy “troubadour” nonsense. Fortunately, from the moment I finally played “Existence” (bit of an ominous title!) it became clear that this was not the case.
Opening track “Get There” is an upbeat slice of britpoppy strum-along with a surprising shift of time-signature in the middle. Track two “Homeward Bound” has a nice electronic-sounding beat to it, which is… nice. “I’ve Been Waiting” has a vaguely country feel to it, a bit Traveling Wilburys, which is, again nice.
So far so pleasant, but the middle of the album gets a bit more mid-tempo and forgettable. On first listening, I completely zoned out around track four, and only really remembered I was meant to be writing a review of it about halfway through track six. Skipping back reveals that “Who Have I Been Today” is a chuggy, vaguely philosophical ponder, “You Don’t Know” is a strange sort of duet between David and himself, and “Song and Word” is… dreary, and on occasion painfully off-key.
The album wakes up again with track seven, “She’s So Fine” (no relation to George Harrison’s favourite “He’s So Fine”), a pleasant knockabout with accordion about a girl who caught David’s eye. “Thank You” is another nice tune, about… something or other. Being grateful to someone I think. The album is enjoyable enough when you’re not really listening too hard, but focusing on the words doesn’t really do it any favours. It’s a bit like Radio Two in that respect.
“No Fault” is back to the ponderousness of the album’s middle. It’s the best of the slow ones though, and at 2:47, the second shortest track here.
“Existence” is every bit as ponderous as the title suggests, with David “praying for God’s forgiveness one more time”. As it’s the closer, it’s fair to let him enjoy his moment of over-earnestness, though, and it’s not unpleasant.
If I was to compare David Goss to someone it would be Richard Ashcroft – he has the same sort of way with a tune, breezily-strummed vibe and a similar vocal style, but unfortunately is nowhere near as good with his words. He attempts the same sort of lyrical field as Ashcroft, but doesn’t have his depth. I mean, he’s nowhere near the worst lyricist I’ve heard, but his aim exceeds his reach, and he has an awful habit of shooting for the moon and landing smelling faintly of cheese.
Overall the album is pleasant but somewhat slight, and at its best when not taking itself too seriously. At 34 minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome, and there are more hits than misses, but the misses are pretty bad, and the lyrics are never above middling even when matched to the best tune here.