True Panther Sounds/Remote Control

It’s strange to think that Goon is Tobias Jesso Jr.’s first full-length endeavour, and his first proper venture into piano-plus-voice territory – the singer-songwriter sounds like he’s been tugging heartstrings since birth.

At first listen, some songs on Goon teeter on ’70s pop-rock, or else, sound almost passable for inclusion on a bad rom-com soundtrack (the ‘babes’ and ‘babys’ sung effortlessly over slow, emotional keys make the perfect ballad accompaniment to Meg Ryan’s next film, right?). Except Goon isn’t about the superficial. 

Jesso Jr.’s music is much better suited to soundtrack real-life daydreaming and introspection, like on the deliciously hazy Without You. He isn’t afraid of pauses or deep gurgling brass (Hollywood), and doesn’t take himself too seriously (e.g. fake ‘boo hoos’ in Crocodile Tears). In an album brimming with consolation songs for every type of messed-up relationship, Jesso Jr. likes to tell things how they are, whether it’s about breaking up with a girl, a lover, a place or simply an ideal. 

Recorded with the help of a ton of producers including Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) and John Collins (The New Pornographers), Goon is a beautifully constructed debut from the singer/songwriter.