New Music: Goodnight Boy delve into the past with their debut

Goodnight Boy Album Cover

Ottawa duo of Connor Mercury and Alex Black, better known as Goodnight Boy, have released their self-titled debut album.

The album, for which the duo play all the instruments and do all the vocals, was inspired by an abandoned island in the Rideau Lakes. “It was abandoned – in terms of building on it – in the 60’s and is now considered crown land. We have a friend whose grandfather cared for it for the owners family for decades. Now that his grandfather has passed, the owner allows us to camp on it –- as we are very respectful of the history and clean up after trespassers,” says Black.

“I started camping there with friends years ago and when I brought Connor there and told him about the history, he was fascinated. I loved that he was so inspired by the history as well.”

The lone chimney that still stand on the island, the only structure that remains.
The lone chimney that still stand on the island, the only structure that remains.

Connor Mercury was clearly very inspired by the island and it’s history. “The island is said to be haunted and that is where the idea for the characters of The Soldier and Olivia came from. The island has been home to a WWI PTSD camp and it’s said some of the soldiers committed suicide there. There was also a girl guide camp there in the 60’s that burned down. Tiny island – big history!”

Connor continued to explain that “the fire always comes to mind first when I think of the island, but the pain of war was there first. Looking back now, you can’t blame anyone for what happened there. The island – in all its tranquility – was supposed to be a place for broken men to heal after battle. It didn’t happen that way of course, because isolation, even in the most peaceful of surroundings can be fatal when the mind isn’t well. Some people believe that pain stayed with the island, festering there. Some people even believe it was the spirits of those men who caused the fire that night, decades later. Innocent young girl guides who knew nothing of the island would become seared into its already dark history. The island was again the site of tragedy and death. It’s been almost a century since the soldiers left and more than 50 years since the fire. I don’t know about ghosts, but I know a chimney still stands.”

With the combination of mystery and ghost stories at its foundation, Goodnight Boy’s 15 song self-titled album is one to be listened to from start to finish. It is a work of grunge and lo-fi rock rooted in folk principals of story telling and spirited emotion. Having seen them play many of the songs live before to hearing the recording, I have had the amazing luxury to witness a band truly growing up. The band is very happy with the results, and Black mentions “we really hope to grow the live band – it’s a dream to be able to perform this huge like on the album.”

“Olivia” and “Morals” above are two examples of the impress depth that Goodnight Boy have reached on their first album. My favourite track, however, is the haunting and powerful “Out On The Lake” where both Alex and Connor’s voices amaze and then give you shivers while the finger picking and percussion transports you to this haunted place of despair. Goodnight Boy haven’t posted the full album online yet, but you can pick it up at both Compact Music location or from the band themselves.