Sub Pop Records
Swedish band Goat returns with Commune and it bursts out of the gate with opener Talk To God, instantly telling you that this is the best this band has ever been. It’s followed up by Words – almost as good. And if there’s a slight lull once or twice across the album it still packs plenty of punch (Goatslaves and Hide From The Sun are wonderful, the closing Gathering of Ancient Tribes – see what they did there with the title – is a cosmic space jam). Also it’s hardly fair to even suggest there’s much of a lull. Goat’s trick is to replay to you – or maybe you’re hearing them for the first time – the grooves and feels of desert blues acts like Tinariwen, the distorted Congotronics vibes, and then slip their own songs inside that energy.
Occassionally (as on Gathering and Goatslaves) you could be taken back to the Jane’s Addiction/Porno for Pyros sound – since the drummer for those bands, Stephen Perkins, seemed to live inside similar grooves. And there’s something in the voice that’s a touch Perry Farrell, one part Johnette Napolitano too.
What makes the Goat sound work isn’t the silly costumes – though I’m sure that’s part of the fun of seeing the band. Goat’s records work because they genuinely feel like they’ve come from another time and place. There are hints of 60s psychedelic rock here (To Travel The Path Unknown, Hide From The Sun). There’s the appropriation of African grooves then applied to a western context (Goatchild) that you know from Brian Eno’s work, from David Byrne’s – from their work together. And yet there’s this combustible energy here where it swirls and pulses and moves ever forward. Hurtling at times, thrilling.
It’s the harnessing of these other-world sounds (The Light Within) that gives Goat its energy and edge. Commune is exciting and wild enough to live on past any hipster-appropriation, controlled enough to never collapse into any kind of mess.
It’s an intoxicating funk blend of Afro rhythms. And then all of a sudden this world you’re swept up in ends. And it’s time to press play again. (And again).