Tobias Jesso Jr. – ‘Goon’

The Canadian singer's debut is a mix of Lennon-style melodies and sumptuous orchestration

In August 2013, after a painful break-up and his mother’s cancer diagnosis, Tobias Jesso Jr released his first demo. ‘Just A Dream’ was a brilliant, Lennon-esque introduction. Debut album ‘Goon’ is a great leap forward. Gloopy, orchestral and lovingly plumped up with strings and skronking brass by producers Chet ‘JR’ White, Black Keys drummer Pat Carney and Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim), it’s driven by 29-year-old Jesso’s huge personality and sounds designed to stay with you. Interspersed with tense moments of silence, the thumbed piano of ‘Hollywood’ will put a lump in your throat. The wailed chorus of ‘How Could You Babe’ conjures choking sadness, and ‘Without You’ disguises heartbreak with sumptuous piano. There are cheesy moments – Jesso pretends to cry on ‘Crocodile Tears’, and ‘Can’t Stop Thinking About You’ mimics the theme from US sitcom Cheers – but the compelling fragility of his demos remains. Because of that, ‘Goon’ is a triumph.