- by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date: Label:
It was back in February that I saw London’s Goat Girl for the first time; supporting Irish noise-makers Girl Band and getting their recently released ‘Scum/ Country Sleaze’ single out to the expectant and sweaty masses. A few months later and with a couple of new singles under their belt, they’re back at the Brudenell Social Club as part of their own UK tour. There’s been a genuine, and well-deserved, buzz around them all year.
Tonight’s gig serves as something of a showcase for new talent. When I arrive the wilfully eccentric Go Chi Minh is already in full-swing, with their singer cavorting around the stage singing about some unnamed “greasy man”. Soon they’re belting out an ode to beer that comes across like some sleazy, twisted take on ‘Parklife’ and that culminates in a surreal, spoken-word poem. Something tells me the band isn’t too concerned with being taken overly seriously but their Coral-meets-Zappa hijinks are brilliantly entertaining.
Leeds locals Mush come next. Carrying the spirit of DIY rock ‘n’ roll as they open with the driving, angular rock of recent single, ‘Luxury Animals’. The band is on suitably explosive form, with both guitarists frequently summoning their inner J Mascis. The vocals have a style all of their own, shifting between slacker drawl and high-pitched, reverb-soaked cry.
The set reaches its zenith with a sprawling and propulsive wig-out towards the end; the band finding their groove and indulging us in a little repetition. The lyrics consisting of the singers repeated assertion that, “it’s all too personal”. It’s an absolute belter. Mark E Smith would be proud.
Jerkcurb aka Jacob Read provides the biggest surprise of the night with a set of deeply atmospheric songs. Read is relaxed and unassuming on stage, making jokes about having “all the gear but no idea”. His casual, self-effacing stage presence makes the music all the more startling. The songs revolve around Read’s distinctively dreamy guitar sound, the likes ‘Voodoo Saloon’ and ‘Somerton Beach’ gently singing us to shipwreck.
The red stage lights encourage the dreamlike, Twin Peaks vibes as Read’s reverb soaked lullabies put us all under a heady spell. The overall effect is akin to finding yourself washed up on some remote desert island, surrendering to the heat-induced hallucinations. Read says he’s not very technical but that hardly seems important when you’ve got songs as beautiful as this.
With the recent addition of a violinist, Goat Girl have continued to perfect their playful approach to rock ‘n’ roll and psychedelic country. Since our last encounter the band appears to have accumulated a whole heap of new material.
Led by lead singer Clottie Cream, the band indulges us in a set brimming with salacious sleaze, caustic commentary and fierce intelligence. Yet to release their debut album, it’s exciting to hear where Goat Girl have been taking their sound. ‘Creep’ is dark, violent and irresistibly catchy while the melancholic ‘Slowly Reclines’ could almost be a countrified Pavement circa Wowee Zowee.
The songs are undeniably strong but it’s the effortlessly cool delivery that really seals the deal. The five friends gel perfectly on stage with gang vocals and harmonies casually weaving their way through the songs. Even when they’re treating us to a surprise cover of Bugsy Malone tune ‘Tomorrow’ the band manage to make it well and truly their own.
Cream’s cool, detached drawl guides us through a mire of scum, sleaze and drool. It’s almost like we’re hanging out in the Houses of Parliament. Except Prime Ministers Question Time would obviously never be this fun to watch. The songs and the characters within them live on the edge of chaos with the excellent ‘Cracker Drool’ warning us to “enjoy the scene before it implodes”.
They wrap things up with a blistering ‘Country Sleaze’, inspiring some brief but enthusiastic moshing from the crowd. Due to illness it’s a reasonably short set but it can’t be bad to leave us wanting more, right? Here’s hoping 2018 brings us less political scumbaggery and a whole lot more Goat Girl.