If Goon’s debut LP, Heaven is Humming, is precisely that, simply a debut, I think it’s safe to say we can await exciting things to come from this LA-based band. Quite obviously influenced by The Pixies and Sonic Youth, Goon have a grunge-vibe, which confidently sits throughout this record, albeit intertwined with more subdued, ambient moments.
Since forming in 2016, Goon have built a cult following over in the States, landing a spot on Fader Fort and NPR’s Artists To Watch list at SXSW last year. Having opened for Shame, Lucy Dacus and Grandaddy, they are definitely as SXSW suggest. The band’s first two EPs, Dusk of Punk and Happy Omen, initially released independently were recently re-issued by their label, Partisan Records.
The fourpiece, comprising of Kenny Becker, Drew Eccleston, Andy Polito and Caleb Wicker, did not begin this way. Primarily a vehicle for Becker, who wrote Heaven is Humming while suffering from a chronic sinus condition that required surgery and periodically debilitated his senses, that includes hearing, a real disability for any musician. The songs, erratic in style and content, often carrying discord, were all written during Becker’s brief periods of health and optimism. When we consider it from this approach, Heaven is Humming begins to make sense, the context emerging and a support surrounding this varied LP.
Snoqualmie is a sigh of relief throughout the album, a combination of guitar and strings, it’s a relaxed and contemplative track amidst a lot of scuzzy frustration and discordant upset. F Jam, with it’s pulsating drums and odious guitar strumming, establishes that this album is certainly no dream-pop number. Even Black Finch, which is Becker conveying his feeling of being stoned dusk, has somewhat of a Thurston Moore, early Radiohead anger to it.
Cammie at Night definitely has Pixie-like qualities to it, but with Courtney Taylor-Taylor (Dandy Warhols) styled vocals, as my head fuses Get Off with Debaser and gets something not too dissimilar to this track. With a love of both bands, I’m not complaining. But their influences are loud and clear with this album, that’s for certain. Critter brings the album back down to a frenzy, as the scuzz, minimises for a brief spell throughout a song that considers his health issues. The anger is deafening at times, literally. Check Engine Light has more of a Thurston Moore grunge to it, as we become immune to that guitar, and closer, CCLL, offers space to reflect, as we are offered more of an acoustic stripped-back conclusion to an album steeped in frustrations. Without a doubt, I will be keeping my ear to the ground for the next Goon 12″.
Heaven is Humming is out now, via Partisan Records.