J Sijnja

The Goobs! – Date Night (ALBUM REVIEW)

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Here is one of those wonderful narratives that starts in the middle, only to end up right back at the start. The penultimate song shares with us the romantic platitude that ‘you just don’t rush the start’ (‘Takin’ it Slow’), but this seems to be exactly what the EP does. It is far from a bad thing—more a canny expurgation of impure thoughts (like a wank before a date) than anything else—and if you paid attention only to the hook in ‘Body Parts,’ the album’s triumphant opener, you might think you were on the right thematic track. ‘I don’t want your heart, I want your body parts,’ Carson Brom sings, but the message is not nearly as lascivious as this lyric could suggest: instead of an expression of carnal desire, it is a lament for the pain of another at the same time as it is a study in self-deprecation, ending with a repeated ‘pretty sure I wasted all your time.’ The music belies the introspection evident in the lyrics, and the buoyant mood it creates continues into ‘Beef Burn Rd.’ (an offbeat ode to the transcendent power of meat, and as a direct result my favourite track on the album) and beyond.

In ‘Picture Day’ this mood again confuses the existential concern at the heart of the track: ‘can you tell me why I don’t want to die for you, or any of the others?’ She won’t tell him why, and he tells us this in that familiar four-tone trip up a major scale that efficiently evokes the sound of all the garage pop that came before it. But as we reach the big night, things take a turn for the mellow. Most of the songs on Date Night adhere to a simple chorus-plus-two-verse structure, and this structure is most effective in ‘Date Nite!’ as it weaves together longing and regret, flattery and a subtle kind of manipulation, ending in a slightly unexpected but wholly reassuring resolution. Date night is over, but on the whole it seems to have gone reasonably well. After the brief instrumental ‘Pete’s Flat Top Shop’ plays us out, Date Night, too, is over, but unlike the real thing, this is one that we are allowed to play over and over again.

Hear/buy Date Night here.

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