Words: James Frostick
Brisbane’s The Goon Sax return with the first taste of their upcoming second album We’re Not Talking. Lead single ‘She Knows’ finds the band in an isolated headspace, looking for answers to questions that inevitably arise as one passes into adulthood.
For the most part, The Goon Sax took people unawares. Few were prepared for the combination of earnest emotion and accomplished musicianship from a group of high-school kids, but Up To Anything was a world beater and as a consequence we know that The Goon Sax deserve our ears. The Brisbane trio are making moves in the lead-up to their second album We’re Not Talking, which is shaping up to be another relatable romp through the emotions the golden years of adolescence.
The album’s first single ‘She Knows’ introduces vocalist James Harrison in an isolated mindset. He needs to talk to someone about what’s on his mind but no one is replying to his texts. When he pins someone down for a chat, they don’t seem to understand his point of view, further placing him as an outlier in his own friendship circle. The pieces aren’t fitting together neatly and James is losing hope. The crux of the disconnect seems to come from the heart, with the key lyric of the song “because I never knew what loved meant, and I still don’t” laying bare his confusion for all to see. The Goon Sax are reaching the age where big questions are asked and answers are hard to come by. Friends disappear as quickly as they appear and relationships take on a whole new meaning.
Having written Up To Anything while still in high school, it made sense for The Goon Sax to dwell on awkward romantic flirtations and self-criticisms magnified – it’s almost always what anyone thinks about at that age. It was charming and oh-so-nostalgic – the embarrassment, sweaty hands, hormonal neuroses et al. Now, slightly removed from the hyper-intense and formative influence of high school, the group are progressing into the latter years of their teens and through to their early 20s – encountering the experiences that come with true independence. The press material is preparing us for a darker approach and a stronger musical identity – a sound that grows in complexity and power, but still boasts some of shaky-legged naiveté of youth.
As for the rest of the album’s emotional heft, well, time will tell what we’re in for. The phrase ‘we’re not talking’ hits home, though – perfectly summarising strained connections and the oft-childish behaviours that arise when feelings are hurt. I’d like to say you grow out of that sort of stuff, but I’m on the cusp of 30 and am still an immature shit at times. Do I even know what love means? Some issues you never shake. The Goon Sax seem to have the whole mess pegged and they’re barely in their 20s. Personally, I can’t wait to hear how the band has grown since 2016, and I know I’m not alone now.