The Goon Sax
About The Goon Sax
Brisbane, Australia trio the Goon Sax write and play songs that are honest, sometimes awkward, and always shot straight from the heart like a speeding arrow. Their 2016 debut album Up to Anything -- recorded while the trio were still in high school -- is straight-ahead indie pop loaded with innocent charm and a killer single ("Boyfriend"). After graduating and touring the world, the band's second record, We're Not Talking, is more expansive musically, adding strings and more production savvy, while their third, 2021's Mirror II, explores noise rock and synth pop in grown-up sonic and lyrical fashion.
Formed in Brisbane by high school classmates James Harrison and Louis Forster (who is not, coincidentally, the son of the Go-Betweens' Robert Forster), the duo began working on songs in Harrison's bedroom, and were joined by drummer Riley Jones, who had been taking lessons for a month. The trio soon started playing house shows, then graduated to clubs, where they played with like-minded bands like the Twerps and Blank Realm. They signed with Chapter Music and their first single, "Sometimes Accidentally," was issued in September 2015. The second, "Boyfriend," followed two months later. More live shows included a spot at Brisbane's Laneway Festival in early 2016. Their debut album, Up to Anything, was released in early 2016 by Chapter Music. It featured both of their singles and was co-produced by Liam Campbell and Andre Johansson-Walder. The record was well-received and the band was able to tour the U.S. and Europe twice, playing shows with Whitney and Teenage Fanclub in the process. The trio also squeezed in high school graduation, and the band who wrote songs for the second Goon Sax record was more experienced and worldly than they were while writing their first. With the help of producers Cameron Bird and James Cecil of Architecture in Helsinki, the band captured a full sound -- including lead vocals from Jones for the first time -- and displayed a more nuanced lyrical perspective on their second album, We're Not Talking. It was co-released by Chapter and Wichita Recordings in September of 2018, and the trio set out on a world tour.
After they returned home, Forster relocated to Berlin, while Jones and Harrison formed a post-punk band called Soot. Forster's stay in Germany lasted only a year and when he returned the band all moved into the same house and began work on more Goon Sax music. Inspired by artists as disparate as Kylie Minogue, Keiji Haino, Royal Trux, and Syd Barrett -- and with Jones contributing songs for the first time -- the band headed to Invada Studios in Bristol to record with producer John Parish, whose intuitive work with PJ Harvey and many others appealed to the trio. Dialed into a very '90s, try-anything wavelength, the band experimented with sound and structure on the way to their most challenging album to date. Titled Mirror II, it was co-released in July of 2021 by Chapter Music and Matador. ~ Tim Sendra