Gee Tee: Goodnight Neanderthal

Goodnight Neanderthal
Goodnight Neanderthal
Genre: Garage Punk
Label: Goner
Release Year: 2023
Listen: Spotify / Apple Music

I don’t remember how many years ago Jay Reatard died, but I supposed it was long ago enough that the ‘R’ word was still okay-ish. But besides the un-PC nature of his name, his brand of garage punk has clearly stood the test of time. Even if that time is only about thirteen or so years, give or take. Because if there was any band living in the light of his dimming legacy, Gee Tee are the ones. But instead of strutting around on stage in a diaper covered in blood, lead singer Kel Mason sports a weird balaclava and looks kind of like a fist-pumping, dwarfish member of equally diminutive Australian country-mates, AC/DC.

And if this doesn’t sound attractive to you, stop reading now. Or don’t, because my time-on-page stats already suck. And if you don’t like this tuneful, but lo-fi, burst of punk energy, you’ll be happy to know that you only have to endure eighteen minutes of it. Because, like all great punk albums, each song only lasts between 90 and 120 seconds. But they pack a lot in those short tunes. Sure there are lots of power chords, and even some old-school rock ‘n’ roll riffs, but you also have the fun of Korg flourishes and melodies that are actually recognizable as such. In other words, this ain’t just a blaring bullhorn of fast playing and screaming. There is clearly an attempt — much like others in the genre like Jeff Rosenstock and Mike Krol — to actually write enjoyable, pop-adjacent tunes. Though buried in amp fuzz and with singing that I couldn’t, with any honesty, call good and/or coherent. Fun… Let’s call it fun.

But sometimes music is just music. It excites you in a certain way that is unexplainable. Not in a long-lasting way. Not in a life-changing way. But in a temporary, endorphin-heavy way that presumably is the intention of this type of album experience. It’s a great driving album. Like literally sitting in a car that is moving, blasting dumb garage rock with the windows down. After all, the band is called Gee Tee, which presumably is a spelled out version of GT. Which is itself a car term. Even though they have an ironically titled song “(I Hate) Drivin in the City.” But, whatever the case, I’d take this record along for the ride any day of the week.