Released: 14th September 2018
Best Tracks: Make Time 4 Love, Losing Myself, Strange Light
The Goon Sax are all grown up in their new album We’re Not Talking (released on the 14th September). On an album full of love, and love lost, it sounds as if the band have approached this album from a slightly different perspective compared to their first album Up to Anything (released in 2016). No longer are the band singing about trivial problems such as getting bad haircuts or dropping ice cream on the floor, but instead about slightly more solemn problems and experiences that you face as a young adult.
On this album, the band have stayed very true to their sound: their awkward jangly guitar pop sound is still relatively awkward and jangly, but is now entwined with lyrics that have ever so slightly more depth and meaning. There is also a definite development in the band’s sound, and it is clear that having played shows all over the world has helped them grow as musicians. From the off-kiltered cow-bell opening track Make Time 4 Love, which could almost be a song by the Talking Heads, to the track Now You Pretend, which has a much more Nick Cave angle to it, with the elegant piano and deep, romantic lead vocals and lyrics including ‘now you pretend / like nothing means nothing’. It is evident that The Goon Sax’s music is growing up with them, and it’s a really nice change to hear.
Another refreshing development in the band’s sound is the sharing of vocals which they do a lot more throughout this second album than on their debut. The varying male and female vocals provides a nice contrast to one another, and there are many more harmonies which, as a result, add more depth to the tracks on this album. This is particularly prominent on the track Losing Myself.
This album also seems very personal, and there are many references to the band leaving their home city of Brisbane and travelling away to play shows across the world. However, being away from home a lot can come with a lot of vulnerability, which The Goon Sax are not afraid to talk about. On the track Strange Light, a slow guitar track, Goon Sax girl Riley softly sings the lyrics ‘I was in love with the first boy I ever really saw / I’m so scared to get out of here / but I really want to get out of here.’ I think these lyrics perfectly capture the feelings of young adults as they begin to move away from home and experience the world on their own.
The personal touch on this album remains a strong theme throughout, as the band talk about their experiences of finding love, and learning what it is: ‘I never knew what love was, and I still don’t’ chant the band on She Knows, a single from album. They also talk about struggles of maintaining relationships while being away so often. Even the album’s opening track Make Time 4 Love mentions the struggle of maintaining relationships while being away so often: ‘you need someone so completely / and I’m gone, running on strange times.’
Despite this album having a much more grown up sound, the band have still got a slightly unpolished and juvenile sound to them. Take the track We Can’t Win, where the Forster sings in the second verse ‘you told me / you wanted to spend some time alone / I understood, but just wanted you here / and when the bus went / past your house and didn’t stop / my eyes filled with tears.’ The band have found a wonderful juxtaposition in being young and old, singing about ‘grown up’ relationships and feelings, and then referring to the bus stop, creating the image of a teary teenager on a city bus.
We’re Not Talking is an album that perfectly captures and portrays growing up, and all the emotions and experiences that come with it. If The Goon Sax have been able to grow as a band this much between their first and second albums, then I’m already counting down until album number three.