The Goon Sax
We live in a world of singles. Not that a band releasing singles prior to an album coming out is anything new, it’s just that now they seem to be the main event causing the record to feel like a bit of an afterthought. There are bands and artists out there that still feel that the album as a whole is the sum of their creative endeavour and The Goon Sax are definitely one of them.
The Brisbane, Australia based trio are all wonderful musicians in their own right. As a group they all take turns playing each instrument and singing and while, individually, each member seems to have divergent influences, together their albums are the product of the group as a whole. On Mirror II, their third album and first for Matador Records, The Goon Sax show off their individual musical and songwriting strengths and how they manage to make these all work together as a whole. Riley Jones, Louis Forster and James Harrison have been playing in the band together since high school and on their previous releases they have shown an amazing adeptness for writing great songs but with Mirror II, the band has taken their craft to a whole new level.
Right off the top you can hear some of the familiar touchstones to the band’s prior work. Forester’s direct sing-speak approach to his melodies as well as his and Jones’s irresistible boy/girl harmonies, but now everything seems richer and bigger. The sound of a band breaking out of their comfort zone. “In The Stone” blends a post punk feverishness with an amazingly catchy vocal melody that hits hard every time Forester and Jones sing, “Do you think it’s better not feeling?”, as if challenging you to not get swept up in the tracks’ verisimilitude. “Psychic” carries on the previous song’s dark wave tendencies but adds some engulfing synths that balance out the song’s jagged guitars before it all erupts in a perfectly huge ear-worm of a chorus. “Temples” lets Harrison take the driver’s seat, showcasing his adeptness at ascending guitar structures and his more indie pop sensibility. It’s a testament to the band’s ability to be able to take all these disparate genres and make them into their own, one unique sound.
With Mirror II The Goon Sax feel like they are starting again. It’s rare that a third record can feel more like a debut, not because the band has taken any backward steps but because it all feels so fresh. While the singles on the album are definitely worth every second of your time, the entire endeavour as a whole makes these individual songs feel even stronger. Kind of like The Goon Sax themselves, three talented artists on their own but even more special together.
Pre-order Mirror II by Goon Sax HERE