Good Boy

Review: Good Boy, “Plum”

Brisbane’s Good Boy must be genuinely exhausted. After a massive year, and off the back of an absolutely packed BIGSOUND showcase (I literally had to stand on a chair to catch a glimpse of them), they’ve just released their second EP, Plum. And, kinda like its namesake fruit, it’s juicy in its incisive intelligence and sweet in its charming, irrepressible vocal hooks.

First out of the gate, the five-track EP kicks things off with a little bit of early Bloc Party-esque nostalgia in Sycophant. The track is tense and driving, with incredibly tight percussion and chiming guitars – but it never feels crowded. There’s something incredibly satisfying about the tried-and-true “call out” song. You know the type: The Offspring‘s Why Don’t You Get A Job, Lily Allen’s It’s Not Fair, The AngelsAm I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, et al. Not to say there’s necessarily any musical resemblance, but how damn good does it feel to let somebody else articulate all the frustration that’s been boiling under your skin and messing with your blood pressure for months? You don’t need to bitch about that one girl/guy who’s got you down, just let frontman Rian King do the verbal sparring for you. The best part? No ugly fallout, just a self-satisfied smile on your face.

Although previously insisting they’re “not a political band”, next track and latest single SOGK feels pretty damn outspoken. That’s a compliment, by the way. King’s lyrics articulate a tolerance of freedom of religion, but rejects it as a framework for his own life (I don’t need to have faith/Cos I cut out the middle man/I have faith in myself). In today’s climate of unbridled hate speech and intolerance, this feels like a mighty timely balm – a gentle reminder that it genuinely doesn’t matter if someone else has a different invisible sky friend to you (or if they don’t have one). Also, this song features the best example of King’s casual falsetto since Transparency.

Okay, real talk: Ya Mum’s Ya Dad might be the best song name to ever exist. Try arguing with me – you can’t. It’s just a fact. Seriously though, this is incredibly insightful and succinct summary of what a quarter/mid-life crisis feels like. Social expectations surrounding home ownership, career paths, and marriage can really feel incredibly crushing sometimes (It’s getting harder each week). I’m getting some pretty serious Boys Don’t Cry (The Cure, not Frank) vibes here too – homage though, not a carbon copy.

Love songs are tough to nail because there are just. so. damn. many of them. Weaving in regret, ennui, youthful idiocy in the lyrics – letting instrumentation take a back seat – it’s a tricky balancing act. As an avid connoseuir of the “shoulda coulda woulda” sadboy love song, I don’t say this lightly: Millie might be the best I’ve heard all year. The line Some bright ideas never stray far affected me just as deeply as The WhitlamsI’ll always keep the light on for you did when I heard it for the first time. The entire Plum EP shows incredible promise, but to me, this is the standout. I have absolutely nothing at all to be sad about and this song made me sad. That’s no easy feat.

Closing track Poverty Line needs absolutely no introduction. If you don’t sing this when you’re sinking tinnies with your housemates you’re a goddamn liar. This is probably the youth anthem of the year, which is a huge credit to Good Boy, and unspeakably depressing to everyone else.