Goat - Commune

by Jim Harris Rating:10 Release Date:2014-09-22

Goat are back with their highly-anticipated second album, Commune, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Goat are a Swedish band with something of a mystique about them. They originated in a Swedish town that practiced voodoo, had a practicing witch doctor - and then these crusading Christians came along, kicked out the witch doctor, but not before she could put a curse on the town that forced all offspring born in the city to grow up to play incredible psychedelic music. (Did I miss something through the Google Swedish translator?)

If you happened to listen to Goat’s first album, World Music, you were immediately struck by the incredible blend of tribal beats, brilliant acoustical flourishes, chugging bass-lines and heavy wa-wa psychedelic guitar riffs. Wrap around a near-screaming, powerful female voice, and you were listening to one of the best albums of 2012. Commune is perhaps even better.

While World Music was Goat’s attempt to expand beyond Western musical influences and into eastern, far-eastern, and tribal influences, Commune has the band sounding more earnest and focused. The lyrics are angrier, rallying the people and tackling the environment. The music is also louder, faster, darker, with far more mysticism. The female vocals scream more powerfully at times.

A bell chiming in the distance leads into a great slow-burning opening track. ‘Talk to God’ kicks off with gorgeous electronics and pounding bass-lines that set a powerful and evocative tone for the rest of the album. The tribal elements are particularly evident in the simple direct drums which open the second song, ‘Words’. This continues with some incredible, soaring vocals and more tribal drumming on ‘The Light Within’. 

Commune may only have nine songs but each and every track, especially as the album progresses, shows just how powerful a psych band Goat is. The brand of psychedelic music Goat employs cannot be called 21st Century psych or neo-psych or paisley, or sigh-psych. Goat is pure unadulterated true psychedelic music rooted in the origins of the genre.  ‘

The Light Within’ evokes a time and place when weed was used to take the edge off acid and Santana played ‘Black Magic Woman’ for 45 minutes on a stage overlooking a sea of living, passed-out, emaciated beanie babies. The next song, ‘To Travel the Path Unknown’, is a shorter, transitional song that evokes a VW Minibus traversing a lonely stretch of desert with two silent long-haired men going intentionally in search of nothing. 

And then along comes the wa-wa-wa, beatific ‘Goatchild’ and the pile-driving ‘Goatslaves’ that conjures up flashbacks to ‘Magic Carpet Ride’, before transitioning into the eastern-Influenced ‘Hide from the Sun’. Then our Goat musical journey arrives at ‘Bondye’, the next to last track that could easily fit on the same bill with Iron Butterfly as the opening act.

And the journey ends on the magnificent ‘Gathering of Ancient Tribes’ that has a rippling, rising guitar-lick that could easily awaken Jimi Hendrix’s Stratocaster from its glass-enclosed Cleveland, Ohio grave. If Commune and all the older and forthcoming Goat albums are the soundtracks to the spirit world, then I want to go there.

Commune is the best album of the year. 

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