The Goon Sax on “We’re Not Talking” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Goon Sax on “We’re Not Talking”

Feeling Terrible Again

Apr 18, 2019 The Goon Sax Bookmark and Share

The three members of Aussie trio The Goon Sax have only been back in the U.S. for a day, and already some reporter on the phone wants to know what they think of America. They’re also keen to talk about the band’s second album, a meditative romp about breaking up and moving on called We’re Not Talking. The reporter seems to ply for pithy answers, but for Louis Forster, Riley Jones, and James Harrison, a Goon Sax song speaks for all of them. “We really like honest music, and so being sincere and honest is something we wanted to do,” Forster explains. “If nothing else, that was achieved. Sometimes I don’t know whether the other things we wanted [the album] to be [happened], but we got there on the honesty.”

For a band with high expectations, the three youths share a healthy level of modesty. “Natural selection’s going to get [our band],” says Forster, even though industry heads have kept tabs on him for the past four years as the son of Robert Forster from The Go-Betweens. His mate Harrison, who penned some of the most humbling moments on the album, still doubts his own humility. “One sucky thing about my songs…is you don’t get the other side of [the story],” he says, referring to the album’s overarching narrative of a relationship falling apart. “Somebody has to tell the people that Jim’s mean, too,” Jones jokes.

Still, there’s lots of hard work in We’re Not Talking that the band can take pride in. The nuanced layers of strings and percussion interwoven across this album took almost two years to stitch together; and even then, the band spent another three weeks threading out the extra fluff. Forster plays this down at first-“We sucked out all the fun,” he quips-but Jones insists that they’ve shaped the record into a “rocket.”

They can also all agree that the old wounds confessed in the lyrics still fester. Forster wasn’t fibbing on “We Can’t Win,” where the protagonist cries as the bus drives past his girlfriend’s house. “The day that song came out, I was having a walk,” he says. “I don’t really walk that often, [and I was] right exactly where I was walking when I wrote those lyrics. It pretty much felt terrible as well. I felt terrible again, three years after that. And it’s the suckiest feeling ever.” That’s what makes We’re Not Talking work, thoughThe Goon Sax don’t bury that sense of loss too deep in prose, or attempt to resolve the trauma with a neat bow. Life goes on, and so do the memories.

After some small talk about the big cars and wide highways in America, Harrison decides to swerve off-topic with some advice. “If you want a new haircut, Astro Boy had good hair,” he says. The reporter prompts the rest of the band for their pearls of wisdom. Ever the practical one, Jones suggests to drink more water. Forster, meanwhile, offers a more philosophical take, which the reporter nods most solemnly to: “Don’t be hateful.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 65 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online.]

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