The junior to The Go-Betweens' senior, this very good band features Louis Forster, son of Robert, probably none too happy about this endless comparison, but I just really like the word junior so was compelled to namedrop. They released a real Norman beloved record in Up to Anything and for this here follow-up they've hopped over to Melbourne to record with James Ceecil and Cameron Bird, who both know several things about indie pop via their time in overtly-saccharine super group Architecture in Helsinki.
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I bet the Goon Sax are tired of the Go Betweens comparisons by now and I've seen a few online article suggesting that everyone should shut up and they don't sound too much like the Go betweens... but come on they do...there's just no denying it. Listen at how on tracks like 'Make Time 4 Love' and 'Love Lost' they've fast forwarded from the 'Before Hollywood' isms of their debut 'Up to Anything' right through 'Spring Hill Fair' and onto 'Liberty Belle's string drenched acoustic pop. It's remarkably effective particularly on the former track which is a tour de force of driving acoustic pop that is heads and shoulders above anything their first album. You see, I liked their first album fine but this is loads better. Just listen to 'She Knows' which rattles around is an enthusiastic chorus which matches those slightly awkwardly tuneful choruses The Go Bs welded to their early post punk structures. They may not know what love means but they know how pop music works and it's a delight.
So how do the Goon Sax differ from the forefathers? Well one way is that they don't make their albums great all the way through. 'We're Not Talking' suffers from the band striding out in different more navel gazing directions on 'Losing Myself and 'Somewhere In Between' which are stuttery lo-fi things that ensure the album comes down off it's giddy high of the first two tracks. The fact that they aren't that good at playing music that doesn't sound like the Go Betweens suggest their default position is to play music that sounds like the Go Betweens - which is quite a thing to have in your locker - though I'm quite enjoying drummer Riley's spotlight show on 'Strange Light' which puts them in fragile Beat Happening territory.
Their pop songs are so magnificent that their slower songs pale almost into dreary insignificance making the album half brilliant, half a bit wishy washy. I wanted a pop burst from beginning to end here. I'm not going to get it which means I'll be doing some skipping but seriously... the good stuff is exceptional.
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- We're Not Talking by The Goon Sax
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