Clint Niosi

Clint Niosi's debut album gives the impression that the songwriter is a perpetual scholar, one who consoles himself in academia, searching history, literature and art for meaning and stability absent from the confounding outside world. Many of this album's songs seem aimed squarely at the English lit students and recent graduates reading and smoking in coffee shops; titles like "My Mephistophilis," "Van Gogh Complex" and "Villanelle #1" (which indeed conforms to the titular style of poetry) might go right over the head of anyone not working toward a fine arts degree.

But despite the frequent bookishness and occasional overthought wordplay (see the album title's groaner of a mixed metaphor), Niosi's cerebral lyrics also frequently hit you square in the heart. "We'll Meet Again" tells a wonderful story of two lovers whose reincarnated souls reunite in life after life, a story that will give chills to anyone who's experienced (or even just hoped for) a love so profound that it feels cosmically ordained. "Van Gogh Complex," on the other hand, sketches a less-than-healthy romantic obsession through winking references to the biography of the mentally troubled artist.

The production, handled by The Theater Fire's James Talambas, appropriately puts Niosi's voice front and center over simple, catchy acoustic folk arrangements.