The word “Goons” is displayed in big, cursive letters in the center of the image over a black, star filled background. “The Year of the Goon” is spelled out in all lowercase letters to the bottom right of the band name. All three members of the band are jumping over the name wearing denim jackets and holding their instruments.

Goons: The Year of The Goon: Album Review

By Tania Zapien
Music Journalist

Album: The Year of the Goon
Artist: The Goons
Release Date: May 4, 2019

All three members of Goons performing on a low-lit stage in Austin, Texas. There are colorful projections of beams and lasers in the background.
Goons performing at their album release show at Empire Control Room in Austin, Texas, on May 4, 2019. Photo by Tania Zapien.

The first time I stumbled upon Austin’s ’80s synthwave-pop band, Goons, it was at Dirty Dog Bar’s Spring Fest following a line-up full of alternative rock bands. Undeniably, the denim jacket-wearing trio stood out, but for all the right reasons. 

A week after that show, Goons threw a Star Wars-themed show to debut their first album, The Year of the Goon. The album’s intro track opens with synth percussion and a narrator telling the listener to turn up their stereo, perfectly establishing Goon’s retro theme from the get-go. The song continues to build its intensity with a spacey melody and a series of existentially-aware sound clips about humanity and the music industry. 

Although the entire album is full of electric feel-good moments, ballads that transport you to an ’80s high school dance, and funky drum hits throughout, there are a few tracks that have become essentials in my summer playlist. 

“Here We Go,” the third track on the album is a fun tune depicting a young couple’s night out. Starting off with arcade sounds and a head bobbing electric drum beat, the song fully unravels with one of the catchiest guitar riffs on the album, totally making you feel like a teenager in love. Track fourteen, titled “One Shot,” showcases lead singer, Cole Burris’ seductive lower vocal range as well as the band’s creativity for imaginative electronic flares and effects making for a song that is begging to be danced to. Lastly, track fifteen, and my personal favorite, “Feel Like Running Away” is the cherry on top to this colorful pop album. This bop could easily replace Karla DeVito’s “We Are Not Alone” in The Breakfast Club scene where they dance in the library, or be used for the ending of Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode as they drive away into eternity. Catchy lyrics, a full synth orchestra, and a galactic guitar solo in the middle, makes it the best song on the album and a must for any summer road trip! 

All in all, The Year of the Goon is the perfect balance of ’80s nostalgia, danceable beats, out-of-this world synth and guitar riffs, and just the right amount of hopeless-romantic lyrics that you need for the summer. 

Goons, composed of Cole Burris (guitar, vocals), Sydney Simpson (vocals) and William Barksdale (bass guitar) will be playing weekend two at Austin City Limits Music Festival in October as backing band for Austin pop artist, Kady Rain.

Check out Year of The Goon on Spotify, iTunes, & Amazon Music and make sure to follow Goons on Instagram and Twitter at @goonvibesonly. 

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