No clowning around here: On No Art, The Goons surge through decades of power-pop and proto-punk in under 15 minutes. The EP scrubs away the grimy residue of the ‘90s, leaving the straightforward, bowl-cut, bobbing-bass rock and roll that The Beatles patented and The Who ramped up to 11.
“Morning Glory” has a pinch of Verve-like Britpop hop, but don’t let that turn you off; here, ego takes a back seat, while snappy drums and glory-riff guitars drive. The garage-y stomp of “Future Perfect” sounds glossy and slick, like a British band tackling American grit (hello, Love and Rockets), but that pedicured snarl suits The Goons far better than greasy, lusty posing.
It’s “Bella” where the band really finds its calling, with a noodly, Television-esque bass line, golden harmonies and bell-chime guitar riffage. EP closer “Come Around” does veer into ponderous, “She’s So Heavy” territory, complete with a dreadfully preachy couplet—“Oh my god, what have we done/ We’re slowly killing everyone.” Overall, though, No Art is a solid collection of songs that will rattle around in your head for at least a week.