Welcome to Goon Island
For some, the XXTeens are yet another experimental band looking for airplay and a write-up in the local alt-weekly newspaper. But it could just as easily be argued that they are possibly, one of the best up-and-coming bands in the Western World, certainly miles apart from the popular bands that get airplay on cable and satellite. Granted, that is big claim, and not one that should be made lightly. But with their debut album, Welcome to Goon Island, they prove that they have the cajones to make it stick. In case anyone has doubts, slap on the headphones and take a listen- if the bang-bang-bang-bang of the drums doesn’t get you dancing, nothing will.
From the quick opening number “The Way We Were” to the New Wave throwback “My Favorite Hat,” this is a album that lives up to the experimental theme, but in a good way. With lyrics like, “six little boys stood coming on a fire/trying to make a baby,” it’s hard not to mistake them for anything but the product of a one night stand between the Talking Heads, the B-52s and Jack White. Rich Cash’s and John Silvester’s offbeat vocals only add to the avant-garde atmosphere. They might as well have one of those posters from the psych wards hanging around their neck: “You don’t have to be crazy to like us, but it helps.”
Sure, they got the requisite four-minute songs about politics, war, and philosophy. “For Brian Haw” is a good example of that. But they also aren’t afraid to sing love songs either. Just when they are on the verge of becoming pretentious, a party ditty comes on. That level of versatility is unheard of even in major label bands.
A lot of bands have been described as the Greatest Band in the World- for five minutes. This isn’t one of them. With their range of talent and imagination, regardless of where they end up, they have the potential to be one of longest-running bands on the scene today. That is not gush. That is fact.
David Byrne would be proud.
By John Winn