Jul 08, 2021
By Mark Redfern
Australian trio The Goon Sax are releasing a new album, Mirror II, tomorrow via Matador, their first for the label. Now they have shared its third and final pre-release single, “Desire,” via a video for the new song. The song features lead vocals from the band’s Riley Jones. Eddie Whelan directed the video, which features Jones in a teenaged bedroom and with a dog, as well as the other band members flying. Watch it below.
The trio features Louis Forster, Riley Jones, and James Harrison. Previously they shared the album’s first single, “In the Stone,” via a video for it. “In the Stone” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Psychic,” via a video for the song, which was also one of our Songs of the Week.
Jones had this to say about the new single in a press release: “When I wrote ‘Desire,’ I lived with James and Louis in a share house in Paddington, Brisbane called Fantasy Planet. Technically, it was written out like “$ ◇ a Planet.” It was my friend Tim Green’s reference to the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan. In my basic understanding of the way Lacan theorized fantasy, desire is founded upon a lack. The diamond (◇) represents all the ways we relate to a lost object: everything above, below, around, more than, less than, with, without, in spite of, and because of it. The cause of our desire is a gap that we are always trying to fill, even while it constantly evades us.
“‘Desire’ is complex. Unconscious attachments hang on invisible threads. Fantasies and daydreams emerge, dangerous hallucinations cause reckless actions, misremembrance causes total distortion. I think that’s why we have to resort to symbols to express it. This song is my symbol (◇). I wanted it to feel as expansive as a Les Rallizes Dénudés song— to reverberate beneath waters that flood all the crevices of the earth, to leave no gap unfilled and I wanted it to be as universal as one of those crushing Elvis songs—so poignant that its sentiment seems to ring out forever, just like ‘Desire.’”
Mirror II is the band’s third album and the follow-up to 2018’s We’re Not Talking, which was released by Wichita.
John Parish (Aldous Harding, PJ Harvey) produced the album, which was recorded in Bristol, England at Invada Studios (which is owned by Geoff Barrow of Portishead and Beak>). Since their last album, Forster moved to Berlin and worked in a cinema, while Jones and Harrison formed a post-punk side-project, Soot.
“The first two albums are inherently linked,” said Forster in a previous press release. “They had three-word titles; they went together. This one definitely felt like going back to square one and starting again, and that was really freeing.”
“We lived in a shared house together, this tiny little Queenslander we called ‘Fantasy Planet,’ where we wrote the album,” Jones explained of the album’s genesis. “We were able to go to each other’s rooms and say anything that came to mind and go to the practice room three times a week. It was pretty intense.”
Of the album title, Jones added: “I was reading The Philosophy of Andy Warhol the other day. He said something so perfect… ‘I’m sure I’m going to look in the mirror and see nothing. People are always calling me a mirror, and if a mirror looks into a mirror, what is there to see?’ The name [Mirror II] was totally arbitrary to begin with, but it became about reflecting on reflection: we all get so influenced by each other. You find other people who show you yourself, who you are.”
Influences on the album cited in the press release run the gamut and include HTRK, Young Marble Giants, Stereolab, The Motels, Justin Beiber, Les Rallizes Dénudés, Keiji Haino, Kylie Minogue, The Walker Brothers, Jandek, Felt, and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett.
“I got into Syd Barrett’s lyrics because they were hazy, relatable and honest but up in the air. That’s how I felt,” said Harrison. “I was experiencing romantic love for the first time, it felt out of my control, and there’s something about Syd Barrett’s lyrics… it doesn’t just come from inside us; it is the moments that are happening to us as well.”