The Goon Sax – Up to Anything

The Goon Sax aren’t even out of high school, yet they’re already cognisant of the profound loss of innocence entailed by adulthood.

Goon Sax guitarist Louis Forster is the offspring of the Go-Betweens’ Robert Forster, and it appears as though he’s inherited his father’s knack for short-and-sharp songcraft. But the trio of Brisbane teenagers all share songwriting duties on their debut album, Up to Anything, and a millennial apathy prevails as the jangle pop three-piece churn out their terse hook-laden compositions.

James Harrison, the Goon Sax’ other guitarist, contributes the lead vocal to ‘Sometimes Accidentally.’ “I don’t care about much,” he sings. “But I definitely sometimes care about you.” That word ‘care’ crops up again on the sardonic ‘Target.’ Forster asks himself, “Why am I careless / With the one thing I care about?” On ‘Telephone,’ Riley Jones evokes the instantly recognisable drum phrase from the Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby,’ promoting an air of nostalgia and innocence.

Moments like these are undercut by a malaise that’s embedded in the fibres of Up to Anything. The chiming sounds on ‘Maggie’ – which are not unlike those emitted by a Mr Whippy van – herald the arrival of the last song ‘Ice Cream (On My Own).’ Here, one of childhood’s most enduring symbols – the ice cream cone – is an emblem of solitude. That’s one of the saddest things about growing up: much of what you valued as a minor – playing with dolls and action figures, collecting trading cards – become causes for alienation.

7/10 Stars