The first full-length effort from the Los Angeles-based group led by multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Kenny Becker, Heaven Is Humming administers a healthy dose of '90s nostalgia via a confectionary blend of lo-fi post-punk, grunge, and Pavement-y indie rock. Both lumbering and precise, the band excels at crafting sinewy melodies that favor left turns, but never abandon their melodic intent. Skewed pop hooks abound, with the knotty "Black Finch" evoking the nervy post-punk of early XTC, the fiery "Deny," and sprawling "Cammie at Night" giving off some pretty strong Pixies vibes. The acoustic guitar and strings-laden "Sonqualmie" is the album's sole sonic outlier; a bucolic yet downcast chamber folk gem that would have slotted nicely onto Elliott Smith's Either/Or. Goon's unconditional love for all things 20th century alt-rock would feel more like fetishizing if their songs didn't feel so vital. Becker's lucid, dreaming lyrics and the band's meticulous approach to songcraft cast a spell throughout, resulting in something that feels simultaneously ephemeral and disciplined. They've ditched the rearview mirror and are building sonic vistas on their own terms, with the tools passed down to them. They may be channeling Incesticide-era grunge ("Datura"), jagged, Sunny Day Real Estate-inspired indie rock ("F Jam"), and straight-up shoegaze ("CCLL"), but underneath the hood Heaven Is Humming is pure, uncut Goon.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger