Goonies Never Say Die – In a Forest Without Trees

Goonies Never Say Die - In a Forest Without Trees

Goonies Never Say Die - In a Forest Without Trees

In a Forest Without Trees offers nothing new, but die-hard fans of instrumental post-rock might savor the few finer points that fringe this debut from English band Goonies Never Say Die. First, the songs are well written and played with care. Second, the guitarists hit on some fine tones, and their use of effects is meaningful and vital. But, for most of the album, these finer points are lost in stale rehashings of longish, formulaic post-rock.

Admittedly, I’m one of the many who usually struggle to differentiate one instrumental post-rock band from another. Few, if any, songs in the genre are instantly recognizable. The best bands tell a story through their music, while average ones, Goonies Never Say Die included, are too busy building atmosphere and mining for emotion.

The exceptions on In a Forest Without Trees include tracks 5, “Get All Your Ducks in a Row”, and 8, “When Middle Eights Migrate”. The first of these takes a simple guitar line and finds all its hidden meanings through carefully thought-out embellishments and accents. When the furiously strummed guitars break in, you know that none of the last few moments were wasted. “When Middle Eights Migrate” opens with tastefully gritty guitars, followed by some of the band’s well-used effects. This song’s slow and measured rhythm carries you to the music’s full-on rocking climax.

But, otherwise, In a Forest Without Trees just sits there. It says nice things but none of them are interesting. You’ve heard this before: a clean guitar here, another there as the beat marches on, until at last they hit the explosive bit, their guitars soaring the usual flight paths over decaying stomping grounds.

Goonies Never Say Die are pretty good at this, but so are a lot of other bands. While never being showy, they’re also never terribly exciting.

Goonies Never Say Die at Myspace
Band website
Deep Elm Records