Album Review: The Goon Sax – We’re Not Talking

Brisbane based three-piece The Goon Sax are back with their second LP, and it’s one that takes the earnest, witty and jangly promise of their debut into new directions.

From the off, We’re Not Talking feels fuller and more confident than the band’s debut, the excellent Up To Anything released on Chapter Music back in 2016. An ever-present cowbell, the peppering of lavish strings and the almost deliberately strained vocals all add up to make opener ‘Make Time 4 Love’ The Goon Sax 2.0 – all the charm, bittersweet and clever lyrics that coloured Up To Anything with an added musical layer of beautifully interesting and slightly obtuse pop. Signs of this development are peppered throughout this new record. ‘Losing Myself’ delicately pirouettes around gorgeous synth lines, a drum machine while band members trade vocals, somehow imbuing the refrain “I put my jacket on because I’m cold” with copious amounts of meaning. Whereas ‘Somewhere In Between’ and ‘Now You Pretend’ might be the sparsest we’ve heard The Goon Sax – both seemingly piano-led solo efforts by respective members of the trio. This is where The Goon Sax shine ahead of others. They find a treasure trove of meaning in the seemingly mundane pulling every heartstring as they do and bring refreshingly crisp clarity to anything they touch which is so, so rare that it must be cherished.

It’s often said that hyperbole is the enemy of a good review but there are always exceptions to a rule and The Goon Sax are definitely one of those exceptions. Yes, We’re Not Talking is a step-forward from Up To Anything – a leap that retains everything that made the band’s debut so exciting and adds to – but the real triumph here is the existence of The Goon Sax, who they are, what they stand for and what they represent. Many will see their insecurities, emotions, tendencies and culture reflected and crystallized here in a way that isn’t possible with the dust of day to day life, and that is vital. If there was ever time we needed The Goon Sax it is now, and We’re Not Talking it testament to that.