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Good Looks - Bummer Year Music Album Reviews

Good Looks - Bummer Year Music Album Reviews
On its debut album, the country-influenced Austin quartet raises open-ended questions about worry, doubt, and making a living in the gig economy.

“Bummer Year,” the title track to the debut album by Good Looks, is a mess—but that’s the whole point. The lyrics deal with the familiar process of reconciling memories of old friends from small towns with the politically toxic people they’ve since become. “All my friends from high school, they all bought motorcycles,” Tyler Jordan sings like he’s delivering a eulogy. “Joined up with a bike gang, supported Donald Trump.” Working hard not to dehumanize these characters the way they might dehumanize others, he follows a shaky progression from a drunken brawl—“They’re the kind of people you’d want with you in a bar fight”—to a grassroots demonstration. It’s a stretch, but Good Looks play “Bummer Year” like they’re working through those unresolved feelings in real time. The sense of struggling through confusion gives the song its unexpected power.

Good Looks hail from Austin by way of assorted small towns, and they sound like they’re barely suppressing their accents. Bummer Year is grounded in the indie rock from up in Denton, the outlaw country over at Armadillo World Headquarters, and the dramatically chiming guitars of Austin’s post-rock scene. With a subtle twang in his voice, Jordan has obviously listened to a lot of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. He’s got a long way to go before he joins their ranks (who’s even close?), but he already has a knack for making the poetic sound plainspoken and the plainspoken poetic. He evokes the flat Texas desert as well as its hidden oases on “Balmorhea” and “First Crossing”: “I know a secret spot, clear water that can be got/Trespass half a mile, cross the road and go on awhile.” He sometimes lapses into sentimentality, but there’s usually a good riff or an unexpected hook to offset lines like “It’s hard to tell where your heart stops and my heart begins.”

In other words, he found just the right people to back him in a bar fight. The guitars, courtesy of Jordan and Jake Ames, chime and console on opener “Almost Automatic,” churning up some drama for a tale of unrequited love, but they do poignant just as well as they do punchy, which adds a bit of humanity to the title track. While never showy, the rhythm section of bassist Anastasia Wright and drummer Phillip Dunne allows them to extend several songs into high-strung jams that probably sound even testier and more reckless in a cramped club. They lend “Vision Boards” a prickliness that suits Jordan’s worries about his future and the path they’ve all chosen as musicians. Songs about creative and commercial woes can feel self-indulgent, especially on a debut, but the chugging pace of the song makes his concerns sound relatable, even urgent: “I get ten percent of sales, but it’s just not working out/Making money from my art, man, just not working out.” It’s the gig economy in a nutshell.

Is it worth all the trouble? Is a life devoted to making music sustainable? That’s the question on most of these songs, and it’s one that becomes more pressing in light of recent tragedy. On the day after the album’s release, following a hometown show, Ames was struck by a car, which left him hospitalized with severe injuries. American health care being what it is, the band started a GoFundMe page to cover his medical expenses. In their music, Good Looks don’t settle on a decisive answer; as with the title track, they leave their questions purposefully open-ended. Bummer Year becomes an album about trying to quell your doubts, push aside your worries, and get by in a world that breeds doubts and worries. “To the voices in my head,” Jordan yells on “Vision Boards,” “fuck off!” The fight is worthwhile.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Good Looks - Bummer Year Music Album Reviews Good Looks - Bummer Year Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 Rating: 5

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