Which of these geese Goose the band are is unclear. This foursome of glam-styled chancers, comprised of Mickael Karkousse (vocals/keys), Dave Martijn (guitar/keys), Tom Coghe (bass/keys) and Bert Libeert (drums) breeze in from somewhere in Belgium called Kortrijk and have landed on Norman Cook’s Brighton doorstep, signing to his Skint label. They hedge toward electroclash, even rave. There’s a touch of Soulwax about them, a nod to Daft Punk here and there. But with this debut album, released last year in their own country and now available in the UK with a bonus track slapped on, what they mainly do is rock. With keyboards. Loudly.
Black Gloves’ repetitive massive synths and shouts of “hey” and “ho” calls to mind The Music‘s more lucid moments, despite a lack of any real lyrics. There are words later, though they don’t much matter. First and last this is an album to groove to. An ear for cool-as-ice melodies – in the single British Mode and the title track in particular, both of which are impossible not to move to – is only half the story. Solid production, from the band themselves, means that the repetitive refrains are throughout subtly varied.
It mostly works because it sounds fun. It never pretends to be something significant, an epoch-defining work of genius. It just sounds like four guys setting the volume controls to max and seeing what happens when they all start playing. Check, an instrumental bass-led killer of a tune, divides the album into two halves with a crescendo of electronic noise that lasts just a minute and a half – it’s only a pity it doesn’t last longer.
Modern Vision, a slower number, is a Daft Punk produced by New Order moment, while there’s a smidgen of Duran Duran vocal pairing on the title track’s chorus of non-sequitors before those big fat synths blast the speakers away. (I supect that, live, this is a band where the keyboards can be heard over the guitars. Power to their pinkies.)
Everybody suggests what might happen if the Daleks drank their fill of oil and spun around the room bumping into each other, but in amongst all the (mostly) uptempo pace there’s time for slower, more reflective moments. The warm, chilled-out hum of Safari Beach is, like much of the rest of the record, simply constructed but utterly addictive. As a set closer it works superbly.
This is an album in which, as Hot Chip might have it, “the smell of repetition really is on you,” but it’s so good it needs repeat plays anyway. Chances are it’s not a record that you’ll go back to in a year’s time – there’s not enough substance to it. But for now Goose, I should say, can be my wingmen any time.