What’s the deal with continental European bands having more creative names than their Anglophone counterparts? The Go Find, an indie-electronica venture created by Belgian musician Dieter Sermeus, follows in the footsteps of France’s Phoenix — but in cool name only. Musically, the five-piece Flemish group is far calmer and sweeter than its creatively titled friends.
The Go Find
Everybody Knows It’s Gonna Happen Only Not Tonight
Originally conceived as a solo project, the group’s sound could be described as Owl City minus the musical Prozac overdose. Or maybe it’s Belle & Sebastian channeling later Pavement — and did Sermeus pick up some earworming tips from the Wallflowers?
On Everybody Knows It’s Gonna Happen Only Not Tonight, The Go Find brings to mind countless bands of the “stuff white people like” persuasion. Yet the album’s poppy electro-tweedom is focused, addictive and ultimately doesn’t sound like any other single group.
The Go Find succeeds because it never tries to tackle more than it can in a song. “It’s Automatic” uses a repetitive and simple melody to entrench itself in the listener’s head — there’s nothing remarkable here, but there’s nothing to fault either. The track is an autopiloted radio-friendly hit, and when playful synths bounce in near the end, it’s automatically endearing.
Nearing five-and-a-half minutes, the gentle title track is a veritable epic compared to the other songs. Sermeus’s murmured yearning “Let me take you back / to the ’90s / when we were teens” is about as straightforward as lyrics can get. But the track saunters along like a pleasant, rambling walk in the park on a drizzly day as a jazzy sax adds color to the scene.
Whether on purpose or not, Sermeus’s voice tends to emulate Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus’s simple and unexpectedly sweet tone. “Cherry Pie” is the most obvious example, but dainty bells and basic harmonies place the song squarely out of the reach of the messy ’90s. Instead, The Go Find settles comfortably into cutesy kiddie pop with this story of an always-second-fiddle boy who’s “sweet as cherry pie.”
The Go Find’s synthesized musings are concise enough to stay interesting despite the group’s lack of innovation. Everybody Knows is classier and more mature than its twee influences would suggest. And since the album peters out at 38 minutes, it’s hardly a challenging listen.
The tracks often feel formulaic — slow guitar strums here, some electronic ornamentation there, verse-chorus-verse-chorus-fade. But then again, The Go Find isn’t pushing for a revolution.
The group makes gently swaying music to listen to while drinking a mug of hot chocolate and gazing out a window at the February snow. It’s the epitome of “not bad” — and that’s pretty good. Even though no envelopes were pushed in the making of this album, Everybody Knows delivers a pleasant romp through The Go Find’s unique, if rather unexciting, repertoire.