The Goon Sax – Up To Anything

The Goon Sax - Up To Anything

The Goon Sax – Up To Anything

Whilst The Goon Sax might too easily and obviously have drawn comparisons with The Go-Betweens, due to being co-led by Robert Forster’s son Louis, the fledgling Brisbane trio have more in common with latter-day guitar-slinging Australian outfits like Twerps, Dick Diver, Bitch Prefect, Full Ugly and Terry – and not just in terms of sharing a questionable commerciality-averse approach to choosing a band name.  Funnelling ‘60s jangle-rock and the omnipotent VU chug through the filter of ‘80s-to-’90s DIY indie-pop to wrap around their bespoke tales of late-teenage life, the threesome are both part of and stood apart from a currently buzzing scene of charming young Antipodean misfits.

With Forster (vocals/guitar) joined by high-school friends James Harrison (vocals/bass) and Riley Jones (drums/backing vocals), the three 17-18 year olds have forged a collection that stealthy conceals a high age-belying degree of craftsmanship within deceptively rough-cut arrangements.

The Forster-led pieces display both the most arch and eloquently romantic dimensions of the group’s songbook with subtle aplomb. Thus, he leads the way through the likes of the title-track’s Pavement-infused slacker ruefulness; the deadpan comedy of the pop culture coiffure ventures inside “Home Haircuts”; the wry hook-laden Vaselines-inspired “Boyfriend”; the long-term relationship discomfiture of “Sweaty Hands”; the wistful yet jealous longing of “Susan”; and the Galaxie 500-referencing “Anyone Else”.  Contrastingly, the Harrison-fronted songs are more gangly and ill-at-ease but no less important to the band’s repertoire.  His tales of unrequited quiet obsession (“Sometimes Accidentally”), debilitating self-consciousness (“Telephone”), jubilant unbridled devotion (“Maggie”) and teenage Morrissey-esque moping (“Icecream (On My Own)”) will tug at the heart-strings of anyone who has ever felt crushed by a crush at any age.  Whilst Riley may hide at the back somewhat, her balmy backing vocals and unshowy yet adaptable drumming make for a strong group democracy-upholding adhesive.

Perhaps the best thing about Up To Anything is that The Goon Sax seem so fully formed already whilst remaining open to the durable possibilities of longevity.  One of this year’s most promising and addictive debut albums all told.

Chapter Music