In a better time or better place every Goods show would be treated like a glorious night of rock and roll nirvana. There would be giddy anticipation in the days leading up to a show, Staples would run out of markers due to so many folks buying them up in order to circle the date on the calendar. Yoni Gordon is a guy that believes absolutely that at any given moment music can uplift you, can bridge seemingly endless chasms and leave a room full of strangers sweaty, smiling and walking out to the bar arm in arm while the last echoes of a catchy chorus spilling off their lips and anyone who gives Buried in the Basement a listen is going to come away a believer.
At their best, the Goods operate at a frantic pace, like they need to put whatever chord they hit behind them as fast humanly possible and bash out the next one. It’s the musical equivalent of an eight years old going spastic Christmas morning tearing through gift wrap with a manic glee that only cheaply manufactured plastic toys scattered about under a blinking pine tree can bring. Wearing their influences proudly on their sleeves, the best tracks ring ask the listener to imagine the clanging guitar tone of early Clash mashed together with the note perfect bounce of the Jam’s rythym section. The bass and drum are so in-tune with one another that they’re able to reel in the guitar histronics before they can veer off the deep end. You can’t say enough about how in-sync they are throughout the whole affair, lending a careful back-beat to the kid in a candy store wildness some of the songs veer off towards. The title track kicks off the disc at a blistering pace, with a rollicking guitar riff set just ahead of crashing symbols and jaunty bassline and as it calls out to thousands of other similarly spirited bands that have toiled through obscurity in empty VFW halls and half filled private basements it takes on a near gospel sound before the overdubbed reverb of the end lends it a near reggae finale. By comparison, the followup “I Dreamed I Saw Billy Bragg” is a raucous footstomping country and R&B hoedown. With it’s shout outs and singalong chorus, “Up the Punks” has the snappy tunesmenship that was a hallmark in so many of the Kinks best tunes.
At the heart of the Goods is Yoni himself. There’s a nasal quality to his delivery, like a young Costello (but much higher in pitch) and at the same time there’s the same ache Westerberg had in the ‘Mats heyday. And throughout the disc, you can hear Yoni reaching out for the brass ring, the long lost crown of Punk Poet Laureate that Westerberg wore like a champ during the time between “Stink” and “Tim”. Gordon opens himself up without a care for what you’ll see whether he’s singing with a nagging sense of financial straits in Debt After Debt (I know there’s no one who can bless my every breath/or reimburse me on the debt after my death) or trying to break through surrounding general apathy and malaise in The Spell (I will see the signs and read between the lines/But I’ll just keep making the same mistakes).
Download Buried in the Basement from itunes or directly from Yoni’s site can be ordered there as well.
Recommended downloads: “I Dreamed I Saw Billy Bragg”, “Debt After Death”, “Up the Punks”
Catch Yoni Gordon and the Goods at O’briens (Allston, MA) Monday November 19th with Hats and Glasses, Wonderful Spells and Protokall.