Goat – Oh Death (Cloudberry Swirl Vinyl)
Not much is known about the Swedish rock ensemble that goes by the name Goat. Band members wear masks and the number of musicians fluctuate. What is known, however, is that Goat have been delivering adventurous psychedelic rock with strong world music influences for about a decade. Oh Death, the group’s fourth studio album, continues this winning streak.
Opening cut “Soon You Die” opens with a vicious fuzz guitar riff that Jack White would envy, before sliding into the Indian-tinged “Chuka Pesa.” The third song, “Under No Nation,” rests in the valley between Afrobeat and funk before dissolving into free jazz. Clearly, Goat are able to cover a lot of territory in very little time.
With so many styles, Oh Death could be guilty of sonic whiplash, but the sequencing maintains momentum even as genres shift. The polyrhythms that propel these performances do a great job of keeping everything cohesive. Somehow, Goat is able to be musically lawless while maintaining a steady groove.
The vocals on Oh Death are more concerned with providing another texture than delivering anything approaching straightforward lyrics. Sampled dialogue delivers some more clues, but Goat thrive in the nebulous. What isn’t a mystery is that Oh Death does a great job of making the listener feel very alive. – Joel Francis