Goon is a political Album. Released just before the 2015 general election it really opens your eyes to what’s going on around you. Grant is accompanied by 4 other musicians providing percussion, backing vocals and synthetic sounds to his normal solo performance on double bass.
The album opens with Gregorian Chant. Discordant buzzing of the double bass and the occasional beat from the drum makes for a rather twisted start. The album works through the years of your life with track 1 being birth, followed by track 2 ‘Hello Goon!’ which takes you through to your 16th year.
In track 2, a clock like sound leads in, the understated plucking of the strings of the double bass and the patter of snare drums add to the creepiness. A long song at 13 minutes 20 seconds, the instruments build throughout to long reverberating notes turning into ferocious bow playing from Grant on double bass. The lyrics are at the foreground of the music, being spoken over the top, building as the music swells to become practically shouting. It draws you in and riles you to be ready for the revolution with a satirical look at the people in charge. “We cannot allow you to achieve formidability” it’s about following the government’s plan, letting them shape you to the person they want you to become, brainwashing you ready for adulthood. This is highlighted by the line “There are no limits to what we will do to manipulate your character.”
Track 3 ‘Good Goon!’ changes pace and shows the versibility of Grants musical skills playing a dance style melody on the double bass. Steady pulsing drums keeps the tempo fast pace while bizarre electronic sounds, add to the franticness of the song messing with your head. Different characters are portrayed by varied voices, the shrill snooty voice of the lady in charge leads, teaching people “how to be a good goon”. A pompous man joins her, while the Goon’s sing with obscure harmonies in unison like sheep. It touches on social issues of alcohol, drugs, pop music, social media and the government’s control of the media. Making a mockery of the people that control you and also the Goons that follow them. The song ends at retirement “Tomorrow you will wake up feeling like a brand new Goon, refreshed in the knowledge you have served with as much honour and dignity as we have permitted”. This line sums up the general message of the album as well as the big brother state we live in.
‘I’m a Goon!’ is the final process from 66 years to death, another satirical number taken from the perspective of the person having become a Goon over the years. Grant’s vocal are lovely to listen to in this song with a soft mellow but honeyed voice. It is very melodic and well pronounced, as he plucks and bends the strings in a way that opposes the melody adding a darker tone to the song. Do-wop style harmonies accompany Grants vocals, and a random kazoo solo lifts the mood. The over all gentleness of the song gives you a chance to reflect on the rest of the album as it leads into the final track ‘Toothless Goon pt II’ a reprise of track 1 that completes the circle of life.
Its an extremely well constructed album and while it may not be to everyone’s taste I enjoyed it greatly. It is an album everyone should listen to at least once. It’s got a lot of depth to it and is very much about the lyrics which are cleverly put together and designed to pull away the cloth away from over your eyes.
Written by Hannah Nash