Goner deliver unsettling pop music for the quiet hours, catchy but introverted music telling tales of blurred, disturbed pasts, revisiting painful memories and confronting one’s own weaknesses. And while the upbeat title track may be a personal top candidate for “Clever Summer Song 2002,” the lyrics are filled with sadness for an innocence long since gone and the tragedies of everyday life.
Both in sound and in spirit, then, Goner have more than a little in common with early-day R.E.M., but the lyrics are darker, with little hope of either acceptance or even redemption in the face of misery. The melodies, however, tell a different story, being outreaching, searching, reckless, glorious.
And so, instead of ending up wallowing in their despair, Goner come up with something far more interesting altogether, a combination of sound and forces that is both brave and accomplished, uncompromising and accessible. You can get lost in the intense, insane drama of the narratives, but the lilting music will pull you back up. Or it’s the other way around, and the words will pull you down and lend graveness and poignancy to the catchy tunes.
Complex and layered, you won’t listen to this at all times. But this has a depth and seriousness to it that=EDs rarely achieved in this sort of music without it ending up sounding either self-indulgent or pretentious. Fans of Counting Crows who suspect there are better bands out there should kneel in the direction of Goner five times a day.