After releasing their debut LP Ways of Hearing back in 2020, The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is back with their brand new sophomore release, The Iliad and the Odyssey and the Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick. Taking their name from the novel by Peter Hanke, and later film adaptation by Wim Wenders, the Philly-based band seems to capture the themes of existentialism present in their namesake. 

Their new album, which I’ll shorten to simply The Iliad for sake of brevity, features an incredibly expansive soundscape. Boasting a sizable six members, The Iliad truly shows off each of their respective styles without feeling disjointed. Violin, harp, bells, keyboard, guitar, bass, and drums come together to create a twinkly and wistful kind of atmosphere. 

The vocals come through with a whispery, and quiet intimacy on tracks like Leaf and Hole Underneath the Surface of a Swimming Pool. Tracks like April 25, the lead single from the album, feature twee-esque vocal harmonies which evince a bittersweet and almost nostalgic feeling. The refrain, “we’ll celebrate your birthday April 25th,” seems to say that no matter what happens, good or bad, there will be this date to look forward to. While this can be interpreted as a looming reminder that we must age, it also has the more optimistic message that  there are special moments to look forward to. 

Overall, the lyrics contain little snippets of modern life, reflecting on the passing of time, relationships, nostalgia, and more. 

This album, with a runtime of about 45 minutes, finishes off with a bell arrangement of Debussy’s Claire De Lune. This addition is a bit jarring when compared to what has been heard so far, however the classic lullaby serves as a goodnight to the epic we’ve just experienced. 

The Iliad carries with it a sound and story that feels more hopeful in comparison to the band’s debut album, Ways of Hearing. While both respective works are valuable in their own rights, it is clear to the listener that the Goalies have really come into their own with their newest release. It is my opinion that The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick has something truly unique and I will be eagerly watching for what they might produce in the future.