Like most of us, Christine Goodwyne goes crazy online from time to time. Unusually, however, the 27-year-old lead singer and guitarist of up-and-coming band Pool Kids has channeled that sentiment into some great pop-rock songs. One of those songs is “Talk Too Much,” the centerpiece of the band’s self-titled second album, released last week; on it, Goodwyne manages to make a virtual argument actually fun. On a Tuesday evening in June, she and her bandmates, the guitarist Andy Anaya, drummer Caden Clinton, and bassist **Nicolette Alvarez—** played it at their concert at the Bushwick Brooklyn Made venue, and with incredible band cohesion and musical chops, they had a cheering crowd dancing to a song about the online trolls.
We first met as she sat at the merchandising table afterwards, dressed in a full early 2000s rock star outfit and selling the band’s nifty t-shirts and hats. she embroidered herself. A few weeks later, Goodwyne called me from the Chicago apartment she shares with Alvarez after finishing her day job in digital marketing. Wearing glasses and hair in a chignon, Clark Kent superhero on stage, she explained exactly how the internet has helped her channel that universal sense of frustration.
“I’m going through all these different emotions, and I just can’t find any lyrics to them or how to say them without being so on the nose with them,” she said. “When I get frustrated and pissed off with the way someone is behaving on Twitter, for whatever reason, it gets away from me — all the things I want to tell them. And [a song] is such a great way to say it without just tweeting back.
She’s professed a love for TikTok and other social media platforms, and it seems like she’s adept at incorporating real life and online into her storytelling. One song from the album casually weaves a line about the frustration of being in a group chat with 21 people into a larger narrative about a strained relationship. “It may sound sarcastic, but I’m actually being sincere. I try to say, ‘Look, I’m doing the same shit and trying to get better,'” she said. “That’s how I feel about a lot of angry lyrics. I’m crazy, but I don’t hate you either.
So, in true emo tradition, Goodwyne writes wise, nimble lyrics about the things she sees around her, then, with the help of her own considerable musicality and talented bandmates, weaves them together with driving guitar strokes and shattering percussion. The band started performing in 2017 and in July 2018 they released their debut album, Music for practicing safe sex. He ignited a slow internet fuse that eventually ignited when Hayley Williams by Paramore rented them to her 2 million Instagram followers the following April.
They have since acquired more influential boosters, like Jean Darnielle mountain goats, who said stereogum that “they make really lovely music” and invited them to open several of his tour dates in September. Goodwyne said she was honored even though she didn’t fully understand her choice. But their common penchant for wordiness, lyric-finding and songcrafting makes the choice very logical.
The band’s mind-boggling talents as musicians are most visible when Goodwyne and Anaya exchange extremely difficult, shredding guitar solos, standing side by side and drawing their energy from each other. Goodwyne explained that although she and Anaya both started playing guitar when they were young, Anaya has more natural skills than her. (“It doesn’t take away from the fact that he trains a lot!” she hastened to add.)
Goodwyne picked up the instrument at age 10 and learned a whole range of songs and advanced skills on YouTube. “I remember being super young and seeing, like, a guitarist in a beer commercial tearing up a solo and being like, this is gonna be me.” But she didn’t start writing songs or realize how much she loved performing until she was in college. She said the songs that ended up on the band’s debut album were some of the first she ever wrote.