Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Goon Sax - Up to Anything (Chapter Music)

Imagine if you were 17 and were able and talented enough to put all those things you're experiencing and all those situations you find stifling and frustrating and exciting and confusing to music. And then release it as a record.

Welcome, then, to the Goon Sax's debut album 'Up to Anything'.

Leave aside the rotten name, this is a band with some pedigree as it has among its number the son of Go-Between Robert Forster, and the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree.

'Up to Anything' aches with yearning, and the general silliness of teenage life. From the deathly serious subject of unrequited love in 'Sometimes Accidentally' and 'Boyfriend' to the dreaded rigmarole of entering a barbers ('Home Haircuts') when you're not entirely sure what you're supposed to do - never mind ask for. These are the big issues.

Oh, and whilst we're at it, 'Home Haircuts' features the best opening line to a song I reckon ever:

"I went to the barbers to get shorn
And I came out looking nothing like Shane Warne".

Musically, think early Hefner, with the odd country-ish twist, it's mostly downbeat stuff here, and there's nothing wrong with that. 'Sweaty Hands' features the most wonderful lolloping bassline, for example. That's not to say The Goon Sax don't have their playful moments; 'Susan' is almost breezy, but of course it's all about the terrible pain of love and loss.

The highlight of the album is the beautiful 'Anyone Else' which tells the tale of a frustrated suitor, and veers magically between early Smiths and Galaxie 500.

I've not heard a record that brings back all those horrible teenage feelings for quite some time. I mean, for me it's all a very long time ago now, but listening to 'Up to Anything' little pieces of it come back to haunt you... but also bring a sense of comforting familiarity too. And isn't that what all the best music should do?

Listen to, and buy, 'Up to Anything'.

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