GØGGS' eponymous debut release begins with a crunch of feedback and the shouted proclamation of "We are not scared!"
GØGGS (which, despite Google Translate thinking it's a Danish word, is actually entirely made up and means nothing at all) is the holy moly trinity of fuzz king Ty Segall, fellow Fuzz bandmate Charles Moothart and Ex-Cult vocalist Chris Shaw, a trio that first dabbled with the notion of collaborating back in 2013. Pieced together at Segall's LA home studio, with the (truly) prolific Segall taking on many roles in its production and being the dude behind the drums, GØGGS feels like something that these three have wanted to get out of their system for quite some time.
The result is everything one familiar with these three would expect it to be: it hits hard, like a fuzzed out punk punch to the gut. It feels like a neglected punk classic, despite being a fresh new thing (Shaw's vocals have a lot to do with that). GØGGS is entirely non-pretentious. "Falling In" has casual lyrics like "cold beer just to pass the time"; "She Got Harder" features a nice ending grunt and some great classic echoed vocals by Segall and Shaw; "Gøggs" has a very fun, "up the scale we go" beginning bass intro (a little Black Sabbath, perhaps).
"Final Notice," an absolute auditory attack, starts with screams from Shaw and Segall, atop Segall's deranged drumming (the recording of which sounds a little weak at times, to be honest) and electronic sounds that bring to mind his earlier release this year, the marvellously mad oddity that was Emotional Mugger, and has Segall's lady, VIAL's Denée Petracek, shout-singing in the background to add to the din. "Needle Trade Off" is just begging for a mosh pit of head-banging troublemakers to shout along to its chorus. Mikal Cronin and Corey Hanson, who have worked with Segall before, add to the notion of this being a true collaboration of friends of Segall's — he rounded 'em up and seemingly commanded them to make some noise and be as punk as possible.
The album also flirts with metal at moments, as well as noise rock and then, well, just plain weird moves. But not quite weird enough: GØGGS suffers slightly from what some punk records do, which is that every song is built around the same or similar chords. The chord structures start to melt into one, making it a tad difficult to determine one song from another.
GØGGS is great, but if this band plans on growing and not just putting out another "let's bring back '80s punk, shall we?" record (not that there's anything wrong with that), they'll have to get a little weirder and wilder on their next release. Perhaps then they'll have a better sense of what "GØGGS" really means? (In The Red)