The tracklisting for Tobias Jesso Jr’s debut ‘Goon’, littered as it is with unequivocally heart-sore titles like ‘How Could You Babe’, ‘Without You’ and ‘Can We Still Be Friends’, almost literally screams: “I’VE GOT A BROKEN HEART! IT REALLY, REALLY HURTS! I’M IN PAIN, PEOPLE!” Thus Tobias Jesso Jr, a young man who, incidentally, bears a striking physical resemblance to Nick Drake, sets out his stall early on: this is going to be an album with a truly ancient lyrical theme.

For the most part though these songs sound much less doleful than the words they surround (see opener ‘Can’t Stop Thinking About You’ – a pleasingly simple piano-struck melody with a gentle hook – and the mildly T-Rex-ey glam stomp of ‘Crocodile Tears’).

Stylistically, Jesso Jr has abandoned any thoughts of breaking new ground and instead plays to his obvious strength: a classic simplicity in songwriting approach. And so this album is largely comprised of mostly piano-based strolls like ‘Bad Words’ and the distinctly Lennon-esque ‘Just A Dream’. It’s all very straightforward, but despite this (and because of it), ‘Goon’ is an exceptionally pleasant listen.

Don’t approach this record with a jaded mindset which rejects its unoriginal theme and unchallenging style – instead, stomp down those weary-minded objections and soak in the genuinely engaging strength of the songwriting and its skilful, less-is-more delivery.


Next Album »