Goat - Requiem

by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2016-10-07

“We look everywhere and nowhere at the same time” Goat told Soundblab recently. The music is innate, and the music is learnt. The musical influences could be quantified but then again, with a lifetime’s experience of playing in this small town collective, much of the music is simply Goat’s lifeblood, a culmination of all their experiences of listening and playing together.

Goat’s previous work has been more primal, more lightheaded and delirious than Requiem. Befitting perhaps the image of the band as psychedelic shamans, warriors of the new world music order, and also representative of their secular upbringings in a part of Sweden rich in mythological history.

But now they grow as musicians, and Goat grows as an entity. Requiem is a much clearer representation of their talents. No concession to commercialism at all, just thematically more consistent, a better flow of concepts. The band had hoped to make an album which shifts in mood and pace across its four sides (it's quite a lengthy album). To ‘create a flow’ the band tells us, which will grow over time.

The album’s first three tracks are hyperactive folk songs with the characteristic stomp and shuffle of Goat, but with an emphasis on traditional melodies played hypnotically by woodwinds. ‘Alarms’ then commences Side 2 with a shift towards more 1960s pop-inspired harmonies, and ‘Trouble In The Streets’ has its Afro-Pop sheen, and big chorus.

Then a seismic shift in intent. A Muslim call-to-prayer on ‘Psychedelic Lover’ brings solemnity and peace, not rudely interrupted, but rather slowly built into a trance-like lullaby, which wouldn’t amount to much if it didn’t transition so beautifully into ‘Goatband’. ‘Goatband’ has the funky drive of a blaxploitation soundtrack if only it was played by desert marauders; a slightly unhinged sax solo punctuated by rattlesnake percussion, and mixed low enough not to distract from a very compelling rhythmic base. Calling it ‘Goatband’ is a master-stroke because it really does epitomise what Goat is about, and is an amazing track.

 Another blistering track is ‘It’s Not Me’ where the tribal and bedevilled-sounding female vocals of Goat’s past are used sparingly well over a kind of acoustic framework, with trickling vibes and four square drumming. ‘All Seeing Eye’ continues in the same mould, hysterical vocals and clattering percussion.  

 ‘Goatfuzz’ with its oscillating pagan rhythms is another centrepiece. A party track or one easily accommodated with headphones.

 ‘Goodbye’ brings the scents of eastern travel with its raga like trance, beginning with a peaceable tempo, then fiendishly increases in tempo and almost apologetically ending with a calming final phrase. ‘Ubuntu’ is a meditation, composed and assured.

 A really impressive album and one of the best of the year.

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