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  • Writer's pictureMichael Bless

The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick- The Iliad and the Odyssey and the Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick

The Philly-based slowcore band has returned for their Sophomore release after a 3-and-a-half-year wait. Was it worth it? Spoilers: Yes it was. 

Sometimes, bands come around that are difficult to sum up without feeling like you have to write a complex 10,000-word essay about the overall emotion they give you. For me, Philadelphia-based Indie Slowcore outfit, The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is one of those bands. Their music is so beautiful, yet somber and melancholy, the musical equivalent of seeing your breath on a cold winter’s night. There are so many intricacies to this The Goalie’s Anxiety’s sound that make each track feel so warm and comforting through their darker tones. The Goalie’s Anxiety is a band that takes time to appreciate because their music can feel bleak upon first listening. There is so much beauty in how the band builds their sound into something that is able to comfort the listener, while still challenging them to look deeper inside of themselves. 

This isn’t the first time Goalie’s Anxiety has been featured on this particular blog. We covered 2020’s Ways Of Hearing on PlasticLizard, an album that carries a lot of similarities to this as it contains a lot of slower, more somber songs that swell into these impressive emotional moments throughout. Their second album The Iliad and the Odyssey and the Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick carries a lot of the same musical value to their previous record, but the band feels more controlled throughout this. There could be a correlation to the more calculated sound on The Iliad and the wait between the two albums. It’s been 3 and a half years since we last heard from the group, and the break between the two albums was well worth it. The band could have tried to push on after their initial successes but chose to think about what they wanted to do with their next album, leading to something that feels earnest and authentic.

There’s a complex simplicity to what The Goalie’s Anxiety does instrumentally on this album. The band starts most of their songs with an acoustic guitar and a simple drum beat, letting the voices and lyrics take the listener off into the world the track lives in. Occasionally, elements are added throughout the songs, such as quick electric guitar chugs hiding in the background, like on ‘Mr. Settled Score.’ There’s enough variety on these tracks to keep the interests of listeners. The band really has a knack for creating intense soundscapes at the end of their songs, as if the listener is witnessing a flower bloom instantly, without warning. A vast majority of the tracks on the album break down into noisy sections that include beautiful string sections that add extra flavor and emotion to an already gripping piece of music. The band has the ability and musical know-how to overwhelm their audiences and lean in heavily to the combination of noisy guitars and strings at all times, creating something that is as equally grating and beautiful in the process. Someday I hope they choose to do this, but that’s not what ‘The Iliad…’ is about at its core. The album is about building these somber songs up to their ultimate climax, simulating the human experience of emotion. 

If you like your music introspective, then you are going to love what the group ends up doing lyrically throughout their sophomore release. Much like their 2020 album, the band gives visual details that make each song feel lived in. Without details, the songs would feel somber, but generic. There’s a lot of quirky lyricism here that carries certain narratives to the forefront of the album. An example that jumps straight to the top of the list while thinking about this is the sense of boredom and lack of self-purpose seen on The Hole Underneath the Surface of the Swimming Pool. 

‘What hobbies have you found? I've been mailing planes to every sitting U.S. senator to see how many hit my window

So far all I've found is a new space under the couch where

A brand new kind of space where

A whole new kind of space is’

These lyrics, although maybe some of the most absurd on the entirety of the record, are why I really appreciate the Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick. There is just so much depth lyrically going on here, open for interpretation. The band looks at interpersonal relationships and their own feelings in times of uncertainty with such poetic language that will have you thinking about each track for longer than you originally intended to.

The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick has given listeners something that instantly commands attention, and it’s not because The Iliad and the Odyssey and the Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is an absurdly long title for an album, but because of what the band can do with so little throughout the record. There’s a sense of realism throughout these songs. The band gives listeners moments of warmth to cling to while singing some somber stuff throughout. If you love music that takes you to a colder place in life, then I can see this album being very special to you. 

Favorite tracks: April 25th, System of One, Mr. Settled Score, Midwestern Home

Rating 8.0/10 

Listen to 'April 25th', off of The Iliad and the Odyssey and the Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick below:

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