Album: We’re Not Talking
Artist: The Goon Sax
Label: Wichita Recordings
Non-Airable Tracks: None
Description: The Goon Sax, an indie-pop group consisting of Riley Jones, Louis Forster, and James Harrison are barely out of high school. Their authentic lyrics about the inner workings of a confused and lonely individual are emphasized by their use of an innocent, confession-style tone that makes for songs that come straight from the heart and mind of an angst-filled teenager. The Goon Sax don’t try to hide their feelings, and their openness bleeds through into each word, effectively mirroring the stereotypical shy and introverted teenage attitude that Hollywood so often tries to replicate, albeit unsuccessfully, using 30-year-old actors in high tops, cuffed jeans, and Joy Division t-shirts.
I’ll certainly give it to The Goon Sax for creating a generally positively-reviewed second studio album while still being teenagers, but their ages might be exactly where the problem lies. Their lyrics may be real and transparent, spoken from an actual teenager (as opposed to an adult reflecting on their teenage years), but that doesn’t mean that their songs are original. An annoying amount of young indie-pop bands/artists subscribe to a similar sound and purvey the same messages, employing speak-singing style similar to that of Courtney Barnett or Jim Morrison of The Doors, the latter of whom applies the sprechgesang technique to dream-like Freudian rambles about killing his father and having sex with his mother, as opposed to the trials and tribulations of a young adult. Vastly different things.
The Goon Sax members are still so young and their musical careers have not yet reached full potential, which leads me to believe that the best is yet to come in regards to the betterment of the band as a whole. The more albums and tracks they produce, the more likely they are to attain a sound that is unique to them, and the less likely they are to blend in with other young indie-pop bands that think they’re doing something revolutionary by informing their listeners about the mental, physical, and social struggles of being a teenager. Frankly, it’s an overplayed topic that is covered inaccurately more often than not.
On a final note, I would like to personify this album by presenting it as a hypothetical hybrid of three individuals: close your eyes and imagine if Michael Cera, your over-the-top liberal friend who is obsessed with Marx, and that kid from your philosophy class who thinks he’s a Nihilist because he read Nietzsche once had a baby. This album just called itself a “sad boi”, and, while chain-smoking a pack of American Spirits, confidently declared Milk and Honey to be the pinnacle of poetry.
Nonetheless, The Goon Sax have an overall good sound, though it wouldn’t hurt for them to try and stand out from other indie-pop bands that get off on making nonsensical lyrics sound philosophical and deep.
Sounds Like: Parquet Courts, RVG, Twerps
A Few Times Too Many
Reviewer’s Name: Marisa Latzman
Date of Review: September 27, 2018