No Age - Goons Be Gone
Potentially an unpopular opinion given how celebrated their early records were, but Goons Be Gone might just be my favourite No Age album. Certainly, the move to Drag City has done them the world of good, rejuvenating their instantly lovable, puppy-dog sincerity, even when they're taking right-on swipes at the dickheads (goons be gone, indeed). When they first emerged, one of No Age's immediately great qualities was how their songs often sounded like the product of immaculate record collections, a record store jumble of wild, infectious enthusiasm and sharp taste. Goons Be Gone does a nice job of honing in on that spirit once again. The one-two opener of Sandalwood/Feeler is prime No Age, riffed up and rolling, not so much textbook skatepunk as skatepunk with a textbook. These two are still the smartest guys. There's melodies and hooks in abundance here - honestly more than an 'indie rock' band on their eighth album should have - rubbing up alongside the DIY cassette underground playfulness that has defined them from the start (ala Working Stiff, Toes in the Water). A home listening record for those who also like to crush a few cans of a weekend. What's not to love? What's more, it's a great new guitar record from a guitar band who first emerged the last time there were great guitar bands. Keep 'em coming, No Age. No-one has taken your place.
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