Sean Lennon borrows the mid-sixties’ tribe-y feel from his father and blends it with dynamic instrumental and electronic elements on The GOASTT’s new album, Midnight Sun, released April 29th via Chimera Music.
The GOASTT, or The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger as it is called in long form, is the creative love child of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. The band has been around since 2008 but has been making waves recently with their new album and live performances at South By Southwest.
Midnight Sun is a sultry, psychedelic journey, modernizing the experimental sound of the hippie-era while making social commentary on society, religion, love and other modern diseases of the mind and soul. The album is filled with unexpected melodies and strange chord progressions, taking the listener on a trip through time and space, led along by the crooning vocals of Lennon and Muhl.
Lennon’s voice is complimented by Muhl’s on such tracks as “Great Expectations” while songs like “Johannesburg” and “Devil You Know” rely more heavily on the ethereal sound of Muhl’s voice, lending the tracks a more dreamy quality.
Tracks like “Last Call,” “Devil You Know,” and “Golden Earring” move along with astonishing audio variety, alternating from slow, dreamy effects to epic crescendos and heavy guitar riffs. “Midnight Sun” has an almost White Stripes vibe, with a heavy bassline and upbeat drum tempo underneath Muhl and Lennon’s harmonies.
Like his father, Lennon is very much a story teller. “Poor Paul Getty” playfully tells of a young boy on the edge of adolescence who encounters a strange kidnapping. The story of a famous ancient Greek musician and poet is recounted in “Don’t Look Back Orpheus.” On “Xanadu,” we hear the tale of a headstrong young lady. We begin to wonder it’s connection to Lennon’s own life with such ironic lyrics as “she doesn’t want to lay in bed all day with you,” evoking memories of his parents lying in bed for weeks protesting for peace.
“Animals” and its accompanying video are the epitome of a wild trip. “Everywhere you go, you’re in the microscope” croons Lennon amid kaleidoscope visuals of Muhl and himself frolicking among a tribe of dancing hippies. “Animals have escaped the zoo, coming down fifth avenue,” Lennon warns, in what looks like a cult ritual, complete with naked women in rabbit masks, Egyptian and cult symbolism, and plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of psychedelics. The All-Seeing Eye is abounding, as are insanely trippy visuals that could take on a variety of interpretations. You really can’t watch it just once.
Rather than fight the Beatles vibe he has had hanging over his head the entirety of his musical career, Sean Lennon embraces it and takes the sound into the future. By blending classic psychedelic sounds from the Sgt. Pepper’s era with modern electronic effects and his own very unique guitar style, Lennon and his band, The GOASTT, create a roadmap for an adventure certainly worth taking with them.