Album Review: Goon Moon - Licker's Last Leg
by Kris Kobayashi-Nell

Bands that do it all and do it well are totally welcome in my book. Criticized by people that like their bands to be predictable, off kilter but incredible bands such as Oneida and De Novo Dahl often flitter into obscurity, satisfying only a niche audience (like me — I love ‘em!). I would probably file Goon Moon in that sort of category-less category, sandwiched between the too finely-tuned to be experimental and the hopelessly random.

Goon Moon is, simply put, Jeordie White (formerly Twiggy Ramirez from Marilyn Manson and present bassist for NIN) and Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age producer and Masters of Reality singer). Featured players include Zach Hill (from Hella and Team Sleep with Chino Moreno of the Deftones), Josh Homme and Josh Freese. Goon Moon’s second album will be released under Mike Patton’s Ipecac label, but may only make you nauseous because it’s, well, a rollercoaster ride. According to them, the album is an eclectic mix of stoner rock, jams and freak-outs.

Since each song on their second album Licker’s Last Leg is a little spacey different, I’m just gonna go down the list because there’s just no way to lump them together; each track being fantastic in its own way. Although I don’t believe in comparing bands to other bands, I’m just going to jot down whatever similarities come to mind, just to give you a broad idea. Don’t pigeonhole them though!

Metallic scrapings or fingernails on chalkboards morph into diluted Latino sashay spins around electronica warbled bass and lyrics like “bake the children in the pies” in Licker’s Last Leg’s starter track “Apple Pie”, finishing off with an eccentric angel boy’s Christmas choir. It’s like Medicine meets Rob Thomas. “My Machine” is like the Muppet Show’s Animal came to guest drum, but then he chooses a rhythm, settling on Master of Puppets Metallica with spoken robotic interludes. The delectably drowsy David Bowie/The Arcade Fire/Wolfgang Press-ish “An Autumn that Came too Soon” purrs with industrial vibes that seem to be whirling unmonitored on the pitch switch.

“Feel Like This” is so unabashedly uncool that it’s cool in its simple glamour hair rock-esque riffs and droning chorus. You can almost smell the Aqua Net and fog machine tufts. Yikes. “Pin Eyed Boy” is a little reminiscent of the Pixies in certain parts, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Slowdive and Curve in others, but mostly reeks of generic rock. “Hardcore Q3″ is so delightfully nonchalant with two different vocal stylings, one like Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea’s endearingly awkward octave climbs and one a gruff low register echo.

“Tip Toe” starts off Deerhoof-y, sliding into static step-stop Mixel Pixel upbeat replete with accordion, finger snaps and rattler cabasa percussion and eerie Adam’s Family style choral. “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You” is a slightly off-key Bee Gees cover that sounds a little more like a “Hey Jude” era outtake with Flash Gordon sound effects. “Lay Down” is very Queen-esque mixed with Weezer’s 50s inspired Sweater Song; it’s the closest to pop harmony Goon Moon’ll venture, even though most of their stuff is kitschy that way.

“Balloon?” is a question answered with a little Strokes, a little Stones.. made me begin to hum “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” at the end. “The Golden Ball” is like the Electric Company’s famous numbers theme interrupted by faulty plumbing squeals à la David Lynch. As if to prove that they are masters of the switcheroo, they proffer a buffet bonanza of styles in their 8-layered track, multi-numbering it 11a-h, bouncing from psychedelic guitar solos paired with “underwater” Massive Attack type chants to 60s guitar driven Alice in Chains harmony stuff to folksy bandanna Neutral Milk Hotel rhythms to dolphin coos to Monty Python sounding speech rants. The final track “Built in a Bottle” leaves you with a scarce whispery dribblings with a keyboard as its only accompaniment. It sounds so familiar; I’m sure its dopplegänger was hanging onto some poetic film’s credits.

I have no idea where Goon Moon is taking me next, but I’ll follow them anywhere.