Good Looks Showcase Strong Songwriting and Alt-folk Rocking on ‘Bummer Year’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Photo credit: John Bergin

Austin-based alt-folk quartet Good Looks have been playing around their home base for a couple of years now but are finally releasing their debut album Bummer Year. The quartet is led by Tyler Jordan on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, with Jake Ames on lead guitar, Robert Cherry on bass guitar, and Phillip Dunne on drums. Growing up in one of South Texas’ many coastal towns dominated by the oil industry, Tyler draws upon his experiences there to inform his songwriting. Tyler isn’t afraid to write from personal experience and Bummer Year is brimming with lyrics that invite the listener to take a look at a slice of his life.

The album opens with “Almost Automatic,” a song about a break-up that sounds like Townes Van Zandt singing over a janglt melody reminiscent of Real Estate. ‘Headed out to some west Texas town’ Tyler croons out on the first line of “Almost Automatic,” and as the chorus kicks in he wonders ‘Why am I always waiting on you’ before concluding ‘coming out here was a bad idea’. On “21” Tyler belts out ‘my body could be put to better use/than to fuel someone else’s dream’ as he laments the structures of capitalism and how corporate greed will also become its downfall. The title track addresses the division caused by living through the Trump years and how we should focus on what makes us similar instead of our differences. The album closer “Walker Lake” finds the quartet utilizing more harmonies and brings to mind the sounds of Fleet Foxes.

With such a rich collection of songs on Bummer Year, the only downside is its short run time. With just seven tracks, the album runs just over thirty minutes. Good Looks have delivered a very promising debut album and will have no problem standing out from the very crowded group of Austin bands.

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