Thursday 27 September 2018

The Goon Sax - We’re Not Talking

We’re Not Talking is better than debut album Up To Anything by the same magnitude that Dick Diver’s Calendar Days is better than New Start Again.

Calendar Days, released in 2013, was the highpoint of Australia’s putative dolewave scene which has since petered out, but subsequently felt in moments like The Goon Sax’s 2016 calling card Up To Anything.

We’re Not Talking is a much more different, confident, expansive and better album than its predecessor. It’s not dolewave, that’s for sure. The inventive percussion of Make Time 4 Love strikes me as a nod to The Feelies’ Nobody Knows.

The crucial influence on this album, though, is British 1980s indie and in particular Orange Juice. When on the first album’s Home Haircuts they declared, “I show them a picture of Roger McGuinn, Edwyn Collins, John Lennon, David Byrne”, they were referencing Orange Juice’s Consolation Prize, “I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn’s”.

The Goon Sax set out their stall lyrically but didn’t match it musically. But now the bass is turned up and on album highlight Get Out they go for Orange Juice’s disco punk hybrid and claim first prize.

We’re Not Talking is a really good pop album forged in post-punk’s experimentation and audacity. It’s old fashioned pop in little ways like making the last song on side 1 a spare, beautiful ballad that makes you want to turn the record over.

What We’re Not Talking does is announce The Goon Sax as serious contenders, a band not part of a scene but one that’s found its feet and have the quality and craft to make their own way. I wouldn’t dare offer them advice, but do ask that Riley Jones, the group’s strongest and most affecting singer, gets more vocal duties next time around.

Why write this review 2 weeks after release? Because I haven’t agreed with any other reviews. Partly because they all reference The Go-Betweens.

The Goon Sax feature Louis Forster; The Go-Betweens featured Robert Forster. The bands have as much in common as Steve Tyler and Bonnie Tyler, as LeAnn Rimes and Busta Rhymes. The Goon Sax are their own band. Their future looks very bright.

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