The Philadelphia DIY band Goings released their debut album last Friday (the thirteenth… BOO). With its precise advancement, the album It’s For You classifies as experimental, synth-laden indie math rock. Emphasis on the synth; we love to see it. Some call it progressive electro pop but, heck, where are these lines really drawn anyway and who gets to draw them? They play it safe and call themselves “math influenced.” Sonically speaking, it appears in the same vein as bands like Motion City Soundtrack, Twentythreenineteen, Vasudeva and Chon — so I believe it’s mathematical enough.
It’s For You is a standout piece of work (that is to say unique) compared to cemented players in the genre as the group definitely aimed to create a novel listening experience. Goings successfully employed experimentation throughout in creative avenues that I was unfamiliar with; it feels like an overthinking lyricism similar to Jeff Rosenstock where that emotion bleeds into the instrumentals as well… sad math rock. The instrumentals themselves were very novel all-around as well. This breath of fresh air, however, backs them into a small corner as some tracks themselves just didn’t seem to be truly breathing. I only took issue with a couple songs which just didn’t catch my attention, since they come off too similar — or a verse and the chorus seem to repeat for the whole track without much else going on. Of course experimentation must be tricky for this reason. It’s hard to be fresh and perfect all at the same time, wouldn’t you agree? Despite feeling like I noticed something, I may just be critical, and the album is still getting the attention it deserves. The LP was released by the independent label Know Hope, with vinyls for listeners/customers. So, if you like their music, you should consider supporting them and copping a sweet vinyl variant.
Goings demonstrate solid footing when it comes to eclectic rhythms and all-around musical skill (I don’t know much about time signatures, but they sure do). It’s no surprise that I noticed the 4333 Collective sweater in the “Trying//Dying” music video: it’s a musical enclave dedicated to platforming the NJ/PA DIY acts, and informs a sizable user base of underground shows in Glassboro… those basement shows in the outskirts of Rowan University were the best times I had with my friends. Had it not been for the quarantining, perhaps I would have gotten to see Goings live like I did Twentythreenineteen, Sweet Pill and many others. Goings even made a statement that they will look into some kind of virtual performance: “Hopefully, we can pull something out of our bag of tricks to make this happen.”
Listening to this album was still a treat despite the societal turmoil. “Phone Numbers” throws me into a world of second guessing and smartphones with clever ringer-esque almost chiptunes and a sense of arriving urgency. The instruments follow the theme of a ringing phone with melodies that have surprising, melancholic conclusions. “W Blue-Sky Lives” continues with varied pacing, the breakdowns heavy and reflecting on loneliness, numbness from all feelings missing in action. “Trying//Dying” takes a turn for 80s nostalgia blended into their mathiness, almost resonant to The Cure. Lyrically, we go to the coming-of-age breakup headspace, plans made together for the future but ultimately not turning out. The very end of “It’s For You” seems to come as the musical climax, especially as a hard romance anthem. It delves into more rumination on the negative emotional state, and failings of common language in relationships.
All in all, It’s For You is a solid concept album that treads pretty clean territory! Goings feels like a combination of various bands/genres I’ve come to know, with striking melodic variations I’ve never heard before. This novelty, like I said, could be also seen as a detriment. However I noticed this with other aforementioned math rock bands too. Maybe the insane riffs just start to become less potent towards the end? In terms of theme, Goings is on the money with how modern love is forever changed by technology — Goings seems to take a perilous stance, but let me clarify that it can go both ways.
The receiver rings… it might be a collect call. Will you answer it?
Album Rating: 7/10
Article By: Justin Capra