I can remember the Second Time too, but the first time I saw The Goa Express was completely memorable. It was at the band’s original spiritual home The Trades Club at Hebden Bridge. It was one of those moments where the buzz with the build up to the gig didn’t seem to match the act; a young teen band with just one single release to their name. The hall was packed, and then the Goa Express sweetly but expertly floored us with a set of confident psyche swagger, a room full of bouncing sweaty bodies and a sound of godly, exuberant purity. I was hooked on The Goa Express’ musical excitement from about 20 seconds in. To my shame I can’t even remember who they were support to. I think I must have been delirious at the time.
So, I’ve been keenly following The Goa Express ever since and now sitting in the sunshine with the kitten (Diggle) chasing flies and frogs (Diggle’s not very zen unfortunately), I’m listening to the band’s most recent single release Second Time. While the other Goa Express singles have been very listenable, I think the band have found their real sweet spot with this track Second Time. It has a perfect mix of honest and sweet and lazy happy sunny days.
Second Time is about the repeated mistakes that young people make, how inevitable it all is and fortunately how possible it is. I’ll let the teens into a little secret, it doesn’t really change as you grow older either; we can just have to cover it up a bit better.
There’s a lovely unhurried swirling sound to the music, and the vocals are just sublime. I adore that little catch to James Douglas-Clarke’s voice, and then that lazy confident swagger to the tune and vocals. Second Time has an accompanying video where the band are on their push bikes for their move from the Burnley/Tod area over to Manchester where they are now based. That phrase “everything looks better when you’re high” is a truism for many parts of the world.
Y’know when you put a rosy glow on an era and ignore much of the reality, well the Goa Express for me sounds pretty much what the late 60’s and the late 80’s era of baggy should have sounded like. Fans of the likes of the Stones (both Rolling and Roses) and The Doors would be very happy here.
Those into keeping vinyl mementos of their favourite cult band which they can bring out when everyone else belatedly discovers them will be delighted to know that Second Time is available on 500 edition vinyl. I’ve got a copy of their 2016 pressing of Reincarnation of the Lizard Queen so I should get extra points.
The Goa Express seem to have found a second spiritual home venue with Yes in Manchester (and that is an adorable venue too). The band have a sold out gig there on 24 September, they have a few dates supporting the excellent Magic Gang in the autumn and will be at the Psyche Fest in Manchester on 4th September. I’ve bought tickets for the Goa Express Second Time single launch gig at Yes on 21 June 2021. Longest day n’all, it’s going to be special.
* Images have been taken from the band’s social media