What does Goon sound like?
Pastel-coloured indie rock.
The review of Goon – Paint By Numbers Vol 1
The fact that Paint By Numbers Vol 1 exists is a testament to the determination of Kenny Becker, the foundation of the band. The indie rock band Goon started off in 2014 with an entirely different set of members and following on from an excellent debut album that simply didn’t get traction, everyone returned back to their careers. Kenny wasn’t happy though and over time was able to reform Goon with new members to have a second crack at the whip.
The result is a dreamy indie folk/rock crossover that has a breezy and subtle quality to its production. Becker’s time as a producer over the years has allowed him to hone a psyche rock edge to the plugged acoustic style of music Goon creates. Whilst the vocals have a fuzzy gauze over them, they are still defined and the guitars often have a layer of reverse pluck that creates a sea of noise underneath the main melodies. It sounds like 60’s psych but there’s a lot of modern-day trickery making it happen.
Whilst I started as a Goon fan here, the reason why I enjoyed their collective music is that they often veer off into something a little unusual with their sound. Opening track “Garden of Our Neighbour” is a safe single that hints at this with a dreamy indie folk lens over their rock. “Fruiting Body” then starts to add in environmental storytelling of cafe sounds, and unusual production tricks to filter instruments and sounds. It also starts taking the chords and riffs into slightly different directions and tones whilst staying catchy. “Hi From beyond” then pushes that idea further with a heavier tone and plenty of ruckuses as a harmonium-like drone allows electric guitars to run dissonance between each other. It’s like listening to modular synths playing guitar plucks as a harp at times. Then hooks place in an off-kilter chord jump that feels fresh but not entirely unexpected.
By this point, Goon has successfully pulled you into their hippy world and aesthetic so easily, that the title track allows them to be totally experimental. Now fully plugged, the band add in dreamwave synths to their psych rock, chop up vocal samples to create melodies and play with warm tape warps on pianos and drums. It’s a creative melting pot of ideas that showcase just how thoughtful you can be in creating pastel rock. Closing track “Siren Rising” then returns to a chunky rhythm and synth-led indie rock anthem. Effortlessly swinging with swagger, it gives me Cocteau Twins vibes and a little of SPC ECO too.
Goon might not have set the world alight with sales and name recognition but second time around they’ve really made a unique album. Their analogue brand of indie folk to Goon is like having everything sound like a tinny radio setting to The Go! Team and it makes Goon sound unique and interesting. Beyond the production tricks are catchy songs though that would stand up without all the crazy atmospherics. That means “Painting By Numbers Vol 1” stands tall on every level.
Recommended track: Fruiting Body
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