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The Goa Express - The Goa Express (Album Review)

Monday, 04 December 2023 Written by Matthew McLister

Photo: Cal Moores

Thanks to their infectious, hooky brand of guitar pop, Burnley five-piece The Goa Express have established themselves as one of the UK’s brightest young bands. Their self-titled debut album only underlines that sense of promise, serving up a fantastic collection of explosive indie tracks laden with psych harmonies. 

The influence of their home region’s musical legacy is undeniable here. They sound like a group of lads brought up on a diet of The Stone Roses and The La’s, keen to revive a sound established a generation before them. 

Playing with such familiar influences can be dangerous, though, and a heavy dose of youthful energy ensures the immediacy of the whole thing remains palpable.  

The melodic guitar riffs and crashing percussion of soaring opener Honey get the ball rolling perfectly, with guitarist-vocalist James Douglas Clarke reminiscing about sunnier times. His impassioned repetition of the song’s title during its earworm chorus leaves neck hairs standing on end. 

The punchy You’re The Girl, meanwhile, is among the album’s shortest and sweetest hits, its fuzzy guitars echoing The Strokes’ early thrasings. The opening half of the LP breezes by, but the band also manage to finish in style. 

Sitting eight tracks in is the dreamy and euphoric Talking About Stuff, where Clarke’s lyrics are steeped in nostalgia for a romantic seaside retreat. “Splashin' the surface, windin' each other up / Under the water talkin' 'bout stuff,” he sings. The closer Prove It’s acoustic intro gives way to an explosion of guitars and drums, akin to one final hurrah on a day full of carefree fun. 

Breathless yet still warm and poppy, the tunes rarely outstay their welcome on an accomplished bow. The Goa Express sparkle with youth — their music is a celebration of being full of life. 


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