THE ESSENTIALS of Indie music - a sense of the fey and jangly; an appreciation for DIY punk, but softened by the melodicism of The Beatles and The Smiths; a regard for the slacker ethos; nerdy preoccupations, sometimes ambiguous sexuality; and always a deep strain of melancholy.
Aussie teens The Goon Sax - Louis Forster, James Harrison, and Riley Jones - display these qualities in spades on their debut album Up To Anything. While musically it stays in largely the same register, a DIY, loose sounding jangle/garage rock - think a mellower Pastels - there is an insistent catchiness to many of these songs, which uphold indie values going back to the early 1980s (remember the band are no older than 18 ), and above all there are the witty lyrics, which expertly capture adolescene.
Here we have self absorption and ennui: "I want people to think about me/but now I'm not feeling up to anything ('Up To Anything' ); awkwardness, self consciousness, and body issues: "I don't always feel OK with me/so I can understand why you wouldn't be" (the inspired 'Telephone' with its fast then slow rhythms ); the difficulty of trying to create an image for yourself: "I go to the barber to get shorn/and I leave looking nothing like Shane Ward" ('Home Haircuts' ); and the brilliance of 'Boyfriend' where a jilted lad imagines himself as his girl's new guy and getting revenge that way. It's a wonderful encapsulation of sexual confusion and teen jealousy.
There is humour, depth, and great stories in these songs, and strong songwriting. A most promising debut.