Pete Gow’s debut solo album, Here, There’s No Sirens, was one of the UK’s best albums from last year and fans who attended his short run of shows to promote the disc had the opportunity to buy The Fragile Line, a companion disc, limited to tour dates only. Now, the good folk at Clubhouse Records have released the album digitally (with an additional song tacked on) so if Sirens rocked your boat, here’s a chance to get more from the pen of Gow.
Recorded by the same team as on Sirens (Gow with drummer Fin Kenny and producer Joe Bennett on keys), The Fragile Line is more dynamic than its companion with a punchier rock touch to several of the songs. Tourniquet, for example, rushes by in a tour de force, and Gow explains that many of the songs were written to allow a more dynamic flow to the live set, saying that, “the songs on Sirens made a great track listing, but a pretty depressing set list, so we wanted to get lots of light, shade and balance into the live shows.”
Thus we have the punchy soul groove of Let’s Make War Happen, the aforementioned Tourniquet and the closing remake of Case Hardin’s Poets Corner (from Colours Simple) which retains its funereal drumbeat but adds strings and loses the original guitar soloing while Gow’s voice dominates more so than on the original. The digital addition, Storm Surge, could easily have sat on Here, There’s No Sirens as Gow delves once again into a gloomy and solipsistic doomed romance as piano and strings weigh in with a resigned forlornness. The title track is perhaps the best on the disc, stripped back, with cello adding a wonderfully sad timbre. There’s a cover of Warren Zevon’s Lawyers, Guns And Money sat in the middle of the disc which, in the live shows, was apparently a highlight. Here it’s slightly out of place and slightly awkward. It’s, of course, a great song and Gow performs it well, but to this reviewer’s mind the strings and things just muddy the waters here. That said, The Fragile Line is a must buy for anyone who dug Here, There’s No Sirens.