Occasionally you hear something new that is the sonic equivalent of a kick in the balls or a punch to the gut… that was my reaction to hearing Goat on NPR’s All Songs Considered.
Although their debut album was released in August of 2012, I hadn’t heard a single thing about Goat. Once I heard the song Run to Your Mama, a song that has now inspired a nine track remix album, I knew I was listening to something altogether different from anything I’ve heard before.
Based in Sweden, Goat has more than a little theatricality to their schtick. They hail from a small town in Sweden, Korpilombolo, that claims to have a history of voodoo and of Christian crusaders that brought upon the town a curse from the former inhabitants after the destruction of the village… and that creepy angle is played up in both their music and their stage presentation.
About the music… I’ve read a few descriptions that tend to float around calling their sound… Afro-pop/metal fusion… or prog rock/Afro-pop. There is a heavy African or Indian influence to much of their music, with a heavy dose of a hard and driving rock backbone. The first track, Diarabi, is an instrumental, that begins with something akin to a drone with a sitar-like hook before the drums and the rest kick in… pure forward momentum.
The second track, Goatman, was their first single released. According to Wikipedia, they never wrote any songs until Goatman, just jammed. When they were approached to record their album, they had to actually write songs, whereas they had previously just played with little to no structure… and that free limber style still comes through in each recording. The endings seem to fizzle away as opposed to anything that builds and crescendos.
I must say something about their stage performances and all their publicity… they play in masks and elaborate costumes and prefer to be anonymous. After giving the album a few listens, I thought, ok… what do these cats looks like? The image below is one of the only ones I could find…
My first reaction was… well, I guess I’m into this now. I’m intrigued… to say the least. The mandrill mask is a nice touch… and yes, a little on the creepy side, but I dig it. Stanley Kubrick would have certainly approved.
The album proceeds along at a great clip and the textures of each piece shift and change throughout, much like a multicolored rug (the album cover perhaps), but all with that driving beat that seems to be propelling them forward at all times.
Although Run to Your Mama is probably the stand-out track of the album, another favorite of mine is Golden Dawn… opens with a quick vocal clip saturated in reverb and echo and an immediate jump into what sounds like a piece that would fit right in during the opening credits of a 1970’s blaxploitation film, or any Tarantino film. Simply fantastic.
Another wonderful little tidbit regarding their history… this album was released in August last year… their first public performance was in October, and from what was written about that show, they hit the floor running and are an amazing band to see live if you have the opportunity. Unfortunately, they just finished a very limited tour of the US and never once stepped foot in my state (California… you know, that little state on the west coast). I understand they will be performing at the Glastonbury Festival later this year, I’m a long way from Scotland.
If any of this weirdness sounds good to you, definitely check out Goat and their debut album World Music. In lieu of being able to see them live, wet your whistles on the clip below of a live performance in Stockholm from November of last year.
Running to my mama,
Cornelius J. Blahg