4 out of 5
Produced by: Global Goon (?)
Emerging from the night-time slink of his Rephlex releases, Global Goon goes for full-on good times with his first solo release, Family Glue. Now, maybe in the mainstream-music world, I might be more critical of an album that’s solely boppy singles, and there are version of that in electronica that I’d cast similar scrutiny toward, but there are also those records that are pure, radio-ready joy from start to finish, and that are zipped up so tight – fun lyrics, great production, smart flourishes – that they’re all-embracing acceptability is part of the charm and not a knock. That’s Family Glue. Goon kicks off in a kitschy world of cooing vocals and delightfully groovy synth lines and beats, swirling around and around with danceable, insanely catchy variations on that for the first half of his record. That this exists in a word-less approach is quite a marvel: you’ve subtracted an element a lot of music relies on for memorability, but it’s like these funky bass lines and squiggly synths replace the lyrics: you want to sing along with the melodies, and are instantly set to toe-tapping by the beats.
If there’s a criticism to be made, it’s perhaps the lack of pace / tone variation in these tracks. They’re all tons of fun, but you’d be forgiven for mixing up a couple of them for having very shared vibes. However, that’s where Goon steps in with Friendship Never Dies – an early-era Squarepusher riff of jazzy, fast-paced beats – and the more downbeat My Name is ‘Johnny Hawk’ – before getting back to the kitschy business with the burbly Hawaii and closing title track. Yeah, these are only two variations, late in the game, but they’re rather perfectly placed right at the tail end of when our attentions might be dwindling, drawing attention back to how sharp and precise all of these tracks are.
And then GG flips to the bop again once we’re ready to get our groove on.
One of the most fun electronic albums ever, excepting all the other great examples iterating on this Goon would continue to put out for several years after.