Between his tireless work fronting his namesake cover band and his moonlighting lark with the KISS tribute band Love Gun, Chris Boss has learned all the tricks of the classic-rock masters.
His new album, The Fuss (also the name of Boss’s new band project), puts his hard-earned virtuosity on full display. Playing most of the instruments himself (with some help from co-producer Bryan Scott), Boss makes the kind of convincingly thick, hard-rock candy that you’ll swear is the product of a four-piece band with their amps sets on 11. He frames his best songs with mammoth riffs and has an unerring knack for the rousing chorus hook. Whether you like it or not, you’ll find yourself humming along with the simple T-Rex-like mantras of “Shake It Up Baby!,” “Run Away,” and “Punk and Disorderly Part I & II.”
As a singer, however, Boss is more limited. His hoarse growl effectively recalls Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness, and his explosive (and frequent) screams rival the best of Dave Grohl, but Boss’s vocals convey snottiness on every song, and his lyrics don’t exactly demand a wider emotional range. The problem comes into focus with “U Suck (an anthem for the used and abused),” with a title hook that’s unquestionably catchy, but also highly grating. It’s the kind of sentiment that surely goes down well with the bar crowds that loyally turn up to see Boss, but on disc it’s little more than a trite novelty.
Boss’s musical skills are so impressive, nonetheless, that with a bit of lyrical help and some vocal relief, he could stir a considerable Fuss.
- Gilbert Garcia