Posts Tagged ‘Goon Sax’

RSTB Best of 2018

So, it seems that 2018 is finally coming to an end. It’s been a hell of a year by most standards, but musically its been damn entertaining. Perhaps its fair that there’s some bright spot in all the chaos. Not to diminish the chaos, but when the negativity is at an all-pervasive fever pitch, its feels good to have something to hold onto. I’ll choose to remember 2018 as a banner year for music and for the birth of my second daughter rather than the year that page refresh politics threatened to give me an ulcer any day. Below are my favorite albums of the year, taking care to highlight some that might otherwise get forgotten. They’re in (quasi) alphabetical order with no other particular weight on the list. Keep your eyes out for a few more year-end features this week before I reset for the new year. As always, thanks for sticking with RSTB for these 12-odd years or so.

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The Goon Sax

When The Goon Sax wrote their first album they were still walking the halls of high school, and that album captured the restless stakes of youth in all their impatient, unpolished glory. The record both fit with and jostled against the strain of underground indie that’s pocked the Aussie scene. It was confessional and off the cuff like many of their contemporaries, but without the day job drag and disillusioned squirm of adulthood in their bellies, it betrayed the typically shaggy Aussie brand with a bit of hopefulness and a brash know-it-all-ism that can only be captured at the height of adolescence. As the band approaches their sophomore LP two years down the road – graduated, but not ground down – they’ve had to make the choice between letting responsibilities sway their sound or keeping on with their thread of wide-eyed, emotionally bare exoticisms of pop.

Thankfully they’ve chosen to keep the faith and while they work their loose-knit pop into a bit of a polish aesthetically, they’ve managed to keep the lyrical core raw and trembling and the songwriting tipping towards twee. They’re still caught up in a jumble of jangles, but the band have moved from tripping over them like shoelaces to fencing them in with a renewed purpose. Their new production sees strings swell and horns color in the lines, but its still as human and humble an album as their first. They don’t miss an opportunity to throw in a bedroom recording between the brilliance as well, just to change the shading, but the uneven landscape works as the listener backs away to take in the album in total.

The band has grown a confidence in songwriting and execution and they tie the record together into something that far surpasses their promising debut. Where they once brought sketchbook souls to life, now they’re painting with warm colors and a steadier hand. There’s a sense that the band could tenure track this sound over the next few years into something mature and rich, but for now the immediacy of youth is doing just fine.

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