Genre: Stoner Rock, with a very generous sprinkle of Skate-Punk
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Once again, I have to preface this next review if only for context. As a studio musician myself for years I’ve always had a personal bias against two piece bands. Typically, I was called in to do the bass tracks at such a low level it was really rather pointless and it was only there to thicken things up without obviously presenting itself as bass. I always found this to be a bit disingenuous, but hey they paid me and when you are musical prostitute you learn to keep your mouth shut.
With that out of the way, I don’t have such a bias against LaGoon. I couldn’t hate this band even if I wanted to. They are catchy, melodic in a punkish sense and grow on you quickly. They stand out amongst their contemporaries in several artistic ways and that’s what is really important.
First off, LaGoon applies some of the coolest use of samples I think I have ever heard. Some bands will incorporate samples into their compositions in order to make up for their limitations and serve really to only distract the listener. Not so with LaGoon. Pro cannabis, anti-religious and generally counter authoritarian, LaGoon manages to place these samples within their music in just such a way to have you laughing and musing simultaneously. That is a rare strength that is hard to beat.
Anthony Gaglia, the duo’s frontman and guitarist manages to adequately capture that thick , heavy Fender Jazzmaster tone that the fans of this genre will know all too well. Its not exactly original, but it is apropos for the genre. Anthony writes some sludgy riffs, but not at the expense of melody or accessibility. Lyrical content is good, if not rich, and you can understand the vast majority of his vocal expressions. He is no Pavarotti but he should probably consider that a compliment.
Brady Maurer is a solid enough drummer in his own right. He works in the overall context. I wouldn’t call his drumming skills inspirational, but this is Stoner Rock/Punk, not a Beethoven symphony. I found his playing to be a little high hat heavy at times, as well as a bit over emphasized but this is after all a two piece and there’s a lot of space to fill.
In total, LaGoon works. It’s simplistic, and heavy while capturing the vibe that leaves you with infectious riffs playing in your head. This is a mark of a good band in any genre. Their 2018 most recent release, Grim Ripper is solid as a quasar and as equally thick.
All in all, I give this band a rock solid 8 out of 10 and I applaud them for doing what a lot of other duos fail to do.
Robb Benham – Independent Reviewer