Words About Music
Back in 2012, the world of psychedelic rock welcomed one of its most original newcomers in ages. A very mysterious Swedish band called Goat put out an album called “World Music” that was met with praise and questions from listeners the world over. Who was this band? What’s their story? While that part is still unclear, what is clear is that “World Music” is a great album even two years later. The band combines psychedelic rock with Afrobeat stylings as well as an atmosphere that can only be described as ritualistic. Goat sounds like a voodoo sacrifice in the middle of the woods in Scandinavia. The music is crazy and frightening in ways that only the Swedish seem to have discovered. Now that the hype has died down, though, the band is back with the inevitable sophomore album, “Commune.” Though the demand and mystique surrounding Goat aren’t quite so high these days, they still have a sound all their own that makes “Commune” at least sort of worth your time.
While “World Music” may not have been one of the best albums of 2012 if you list all of them out, it’s still a worthwhile listen and one that’s stuck with me. Maybe the very existence of “Commune” has sort of worn down what made the band so interesting, though. They didn’t sound like a band that would tie themselves down to a recording contract. Goat sounds like it’s always existed, like they’re some sort of cult that passes down its music through generations and generations. It would make more sense that we wouldn’t hear from them for another ten years or something. But here we are, two years later. And that’s not to say that the music on “Commune” is bad. It just doesn’t challenge my expectations.
Something that is different is that “Commune” feels noticeably more jammy, for lack of a better word, than “World Music” did. There’s more sound exploration here than on the previous record, and I feel like there’s more instrumental sequences on this album, too. Though I can’t totally be sure. If anything, Goat certainly haven’t lost their ability to hypnotize and pull you in almost until you forget you’ve been listening for 40 minutes. In a way, I’m almost reminded of bands like Can that fused krautrock and psychedelic rock in really interesting ways. Even if Goat aren’t trying to progress their sound too much, there’s still not much that sounds quite like them.
At its best, “Commune” is cathartic, psychotic, and strangely catchy. At its worst, it’s a complete rehash of what they’ve already done. Since Goat is pretty much an actual band now I’m sure we can expect more music in the near future, which I’ll anticipate with quite a bit of excitement. Goat is a good band with a killer sound. I just hoped for more. I don’t want Goat to burn out by rehashing the same material. Songs like “Talk to God,” “Goatchild,” and “Gathering of Ancient Tribes” show a feisty and angry band that makes noisy, primal music. The good songs on this album are really good. It just leaves me wanting a lot more.
SCORE – 7.1
FAVORITE TRACKS – Talk to God, Words, Goatchild, Goatslaves, Bondye, Gathering of Ancient Tribes