Review Summary: GOOD FIGHT
Imagination is a miraculous thing. I have never visited Brooklyn NY, nor have I ever laid eyes on any creature describable in biological earnestness as an aqua gorilla
, and yet I find it no real struggle to visualise the latter as the hunkiest monkey on the flume of funk, and the former as a red-brick haven for overpriced bagels, turtlenecks–over–tye-dye, and underground shows for band after band whose fortunes largely begin and end there. Goodfight’s self-titled ooze of a record offers convenient glue to smoosh these two could-be-reals together, as much in their goofball fantasy as in their slapdash vagueness. This is heard at its best on the early highlight “Aqua Gorilla”, a halfway-house between Elephant 6 lysergia and C86 jangle that sets out an is-it-a-breakup-yet? hangover so innocuous that its undertones of disquiet are barely to be glimpsed on first inspection. Ditsy twee or romantic malaise? The juxtaposition is everything.
Such innocuous contradictions are a running theme for this record, and, as per “Aqua Gorilla”, the record’s tightest pop nuggets are twice as appealing for their ostensible reticence towards meticulous streamlining. Further pokes and prods of a gentle contrarian disposition abound: “Not Blue”, say, is the bluest instrumental the gang could possibly have made in this palette, and I refuse to believe that any collective of New York mopsters who channel retro-hippyism with such apparent sincerity would truly uphold that the proverbial -fight
could ever warrant an epithet as obsequiously positive as Good-
. This is the stuff of askant-glanced self-awareness, glimpsed on such lyrics as Cause I’m used to having used you
. All of which is to say: this band/record/intersection of pigeonholes have a vibe - an edge, even - and you now have the flavour mmkay.
-- but the music
Yes. The music rests a probably disproportionate quotient of its value on its role as vehicle-for-vibe, the vibe in question being a 50-50 split between melodic coasting and morose mope, often played as lazy tennis within individual tracks; neither side is afforded full clarity and the record’s focus and pace, respectively, could easily be described with such terms as blurred
. This scans as deliberate and is seen off with such meticulous performances and crisp production that it seems an injustice to brand Goodfight’s efforts as actively slack, and yet their appeal is every inch a slacker affair - an impression into which I believe the record is ultimately subsumed beyond the confines of innocuousness. This is belied by how the instrumental jams “Kratom Song” and “Not Blue” are actually a good deal more focused than ye olde listless-pop-downers “Ortolan” and “Destiny in a Building”, gorgeous as the latter’s arrangement do be. The torpor built up over these tracks develops into an outright trudge on “Lennon Obama (do not name this)”, which could indeed pass for a Plastic Ono Band
outtake reinvented as the kind of espresso indie its other protagonist would be all too happy to represent on his yearly music lists, and as we reach the closer “Elephant”, the whole deal finally unravels into the same kind of selectively tuneless chin scratching that you can just tell
were intended for the most flatulent admirers of Animal Collective and Deerhunter, and the final and most cogent observation I have on this record is that it’s somehow charming enough for this not to hinder things nearly as it should: it is alright!