Goat - Requiem
DJ Wolfe's Pick Of The Week
Pastoral Refinement for Swedish Psychedelics
In 2012, an anonymous costumed Swedish collective from a cursed village suddenly burst onto the scene from complete obscurity, only to deliver one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. It might sound like the set-up to some absurdist sitcom, but that’s exactly what Goat managed to do with their first album, World Music. With its remarkably broad musical palate, yet unabashed intensity, Goat made a reputation for itself less as a calm mountain grazer, but rather a wild dauntless beast. The group’s propensity for groove-soaked psychedelic (a word they personally consider to be meaningless) jams carried over into the 2014 release Commune. Although arguably a little less heavy, it picked up from where World Music left off, being just as eclectic, yet still fresh.
But the enigmatic group’s latest offering, Requiem, is certainly more than a new iteration of the same formula. Much of the heaviness of the previous albums has given way to a pastoral rhythm as can be heard in the Machu Picchu woodwind of ‘Union of the Sun’ or the festive percussion of ‘Trouble in the Streets’. Despite the relative modesty (keyword ‘relative’) of many of the tracks, the album still weighs in with the full force of the ensemble, owed in no small part to the power of the percussion. Yet even in its heavier moments, like the distortion-driven ‘Goatfuzz’, the heaviness feels more tempered. Indeed this tempering affects more than just the tone of the album: the band’s raw freeform jams have been condensed and refined, resulting in far more cohesive and definite songs than before. ‘Try My Robe’ and ‘It’s Not Me’, two songs I found particularly memorable, certainly have the makings of singles, which, for Goat, is really saying something. ‘Alarms’ may as well be a lost 60s cut that’s been marinating in acid for the past 50 years. There are however one or two nebulous stragglers, and their scarcity on the album makes them all the sweeter: ‘Goatband’, although somewhat reminiscent of the main riff of Jumping Jack Flash, is a real joy to listen to and for all of its repetition, pulsates with purpose. ‘Temple Rhythms’, however, is markedly different to anything the band has done before, a tribal Steve Reich or Blackouts-era Ashra track in its slow and subtle variations. Immersed in its hypnotic drums and pipes, strangely it was during that piece that I realized that this would be an album to remember. Of course despite everything, the lead female singer hasn’t quite gotten over her habit of shouting every lyric, but then some things never change.
For an already multifaceted band, Requiem might well be Goat’s most diverse album to date and makes a great starting point for anyone looking to explore this bizarre but brilliant collection of eccentrics. The beast may well have been tamed, but it’s just as wild as ever.
1. Djôlôren / Union of the Sun
2. I Sing in Silence
3. Temple Rhythms
5. Trouble in the Streets
6. Psychedelic Lover
8. Try My Robe
9. It’s Not Me
10. All-Seeing Eye
This is the official Cam FM review for GOAT's latest release - Requiem.
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