Goon Moon – Licker’s Last Leg (2007): Review

goon

Label – Ipecac

Side projects are always a mixed bag. They either capture the individual creative abilities of the protagonists for an interesting musical collaboration, or they fall flat in a tide of self reverential back slapping and boozy excuses of self indulgence. For in the rock star bubble that is life for the individuals, these projects are often a vacation, a chance to jam amongst friends and leave the tape player running for what will hopefully be some worthwhile results. When Jeordie White (AKA Twiggy Ramirez), the former bass player with Marilyn Manson and full time member of Nine Inch Nails, Masters Of Reality singer/guitarist Chris Goss and Hella drummer Zach Hill got together in 2005, the creative juices must have been flowing like a desert session oasis. Not only did they create a 10 track mini LP in “I Got A Brand New Egg Layin’ Machine”, but there were a number of work in progress “half songs” that were left until the next blue moon. And so, signed to Mike Patton’s Ipecac label, Goon Moon bring us “Licker’s Last Leg”, which contains the completed demo’s from 2005, along with new material and a cover of The Bee Gees psychedelic pop classic, “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You”.

Surprisingly, “Licker’s Last Leg” sounds nothing like a reincarnation of the band members past’s. It’s a rag tag mix of refreshing obscurity, consisting of Kyuss style stoner rock, 60s psychedelia and Deerhoof goof ball individualism. There’s a limitless shift of musical patterns throughout, diving from one random rock pool to the next, often within a song (“The Golden Ball”). Goss had said that the reason for the genre hopping was down to the fact that the music that influenced their song writing had changed by 2007 saying, “If you record something years before, you’re influenced by a lot of stuff that was going on at that time, then you revisit it”. They’ve certainly got the ear and method to develop a hook, and through the unadulterated experimentation in anything spanning 60s blues rock to 80s post punk, there are strong melodies lying at the core of almost every moment. “Tip Toe” is bonkers hallucinogenic pop as Goss sings “I’m losing my connection” to a fuzzy riff, clicking fingers and a phased drum pattern. “My Machine” rumbles in on dramatic rhythms, then rips into a QOTSA styled hard rocker that Josh Homme would surely nod in appreciation to. The Bee Gees cover sounds so stoned it must have took a trip around Jupiter before finally landing on disc. Add to that the excellent hard rocking “Feel Like This” and you have an album that’s truly worthy of investigation.

There’s no leaning on past glories and obvious directions. Goon Moon bring genuinely original sounds that are far more diverse than their self confessed influences. Pleasantly surprising.

7/10

Tracklist
1 Apple Pie 4:34
2 My Machine 3:37
3 An Autumn That Came Too Soon 4:06
4 Feel Like This 3:31
5 Pin Eyed Boy 3:39
6 Hardcore Q3 4:41
7 Tip Toe 3:34
8 Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You 4:29
9 Lay Down 4:30
10 Balloon? 3:33
11 The Golden Ball (9:46)
11a The Bees To Your Knees
11b Birmingham
11c Sadie
11d Hanging With Mike
11e Quipy Quipy Quaw Quaw
11f Mr. Frankie
11g Dramatic Paws
11h The Licker’s Last Leg
12 Built In A Bottle 4:11

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