Nathaniel Peirce and Jake Martin
Who headbangs in a pineapple under the sea? Massachusetts based powerviolence quartet Goolagoon - that's who. With their unique style of hardcore punk, touched with surf rock elements and a loose Spongebob-inspired theme, the Patrickviolence Demo proves to be a thoroughly entertaining EP, if a tad contrived.
First things first, the production on this album is perfect. Whereas most powerviolence bands opt for a muddy, low-fi production, Goolagoon instead favour a crisp, balanced mix, ensuring every element of their sound cuts through clearly. The bass guitar rumbles beneath the speedy, power-chord driven guitar riffs while the drumming remains punchy and exciting throughout the EP. Vocalist Lily drapes her yrics over the top of the instrumental foundation like a picnic blanket over a bed of jagged rock. Her vocal style is closer to a shout than the typical frenzied screaming you might expect, and due to this and the surprisingly level mixing, her lyrics are intelligible and effective. The band also experiment with different pacing and tempos on Patrickviolence. In between the chaos, there are slower segments full of stilted, sludgy playing and thick tones. The guitarist scatters some noticeable surf-rock clichés into his playing, such as tremolo picked downward slides and treble-y chords, especially evident on the full-on surf rock number ‘Goo Lagoon’ which closes the album on a lighter note. He always returns to the ear-shattering harmonics and breakneck playing, however, firmly establishing the bands powerviolence sound, but these temporary strolls through a seemingly incongruous genre helps this band to stand out from the crowd. The extremely short track and album duration are also typical of this sub genre, with each song lasting less than a minute and a half, making this a very brief listening experience, but a worthwhile one regardless.