Fueled by mixer/engineer Ross Orton's jerky drumming, Welcome to Goon Island plays like an art-rock disco experiment gone haywire. Constantly disaffected and boisterous Rich Cash leads the numbers with marble-mouthed abandon down a rabbit hole of incoherent delirium. It's hard to decipher exactly just what he might be saying, even if you can pick out the words.
The Goon Show's radio programmes were based around surreal humour and bizarre sounds, and XX Teens appear to be going the same way. Formerly the Xerox Teens (until their choice of name was nobbled by a multinational), their music throws together art punk, big beats, steel drums, tweeting birds and at least one song about swapping a favourite Czechoslovakian hat for a set of teeth. Their crazed collages initially make as much sense as Spike Milligan's quips must have made to the 1950s comedy establishment, but they repay repeated listens.
Metallica may have disappointed me the most this year, Kanye may have frustrated me the most, Guns N’ Roses may have annoyed me the most, and Be Your Own Pet’s breakup did the most to break my heart. But no band outright angered me this year quite like XX Teens, whose debut album, Welcome to Goon Island, inspired me to listen to it more times than it deserved before turning it off in disgust. I’m sure the five boys of XX Teens would love to know they’re pissing off critics, just like they love to piss off people who Google them (not only does that trick not work anymore, but it was essentially already done by !!! five years ago).