OK, let's get the elephant out of the way first, because I'm not going to be the only one to say this: Dan Koshute's voice resembles that of Order of the British Empire recipient Robert Plant. Quite a lot.
But I also hear tinges of Perry Farrell, Frank Black and even Jeff Buckley on Koshute's latest CD, Kiss Line. So, the fact that he has a charismatic presence that projects as well as the lead singer of Led Zeppelin isn't a bad thing. It keeps listeners riveted to the meat of his songs, which rely on stream-of-consciousness emotional fervor, not unlike his idol, American poet and T.S Eliot acolyte Hart Crane.
Anyone who's beheld this Pittsburgh-based artist live knows he can express himself just as well acoustically as with his explosive rock trio. Similarly, the tracks on this CD fall into two general categories: the folky songs, where his voice is at the forefront (such as "Nevertheless" and "Paris Exhibition"), and the rock 'n' roll overdrive numbers, such as the bombastic "Double Dip," which may be the best chance the album has for radio exposure. And let's not forget the title track, which somewhat recalls Karl Hendricks Trio due to its Hüsker Dü-like fuzzcore.
But other gems lurk in between the extremes -- I'm suitably impressed by the Buckley-esque fingerpicking on the instrumental track "Givern," as well as "Cygnet," which is a bit of darkly tinged folk-pop with cello that could roll back to back with some Nick Cave or Mazzy Star. "In Our Regalia" offers a wall-of-sound effect in which Koshute gets somewhat buried, indicating his debt to '90s Britpop and shoegaze bands.
And that's the only reservation I have with this strong, if varied, collection: sometimes, Koshute gets shunted aside by the production, almost like you're hearing him emanate from a different room. Since his voice is one of his strongest assets, Koshute should place the lyrics front and center, which would help him realize the breadth of his vision.
Dan Koshute CD release with Jawmonster. 10:30 p.m. Sat., June 6. Club Café, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $6. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com