Review Summary: Swedish collective perform unholy musical incest with every genre imaginable; greatness ensues'Goat are a collective who hail from a small and very remote village called Korpolombolo in deepest darkest Sweden. Legend has it that for centuries, the inhabitants of the village of Korpolombolo were dedicated to the worship and practices of Voodoo...'
According to the spiel on their website, this is the origin of Goat, who've been mask wearing, devil worshipping and psych rocking their way to significant acclaim and/or bewilderment as of late 2012. Whether the ridiculous backstory is true or not (and even if it isn't, it at least adds to the mystique), there's no denying the frankly stunning amalgamation of styles and sounds evident on their aptly titled debut.
In the popular imagination, the term 'world music' generally suggests an afrocentric, or at a stretch middle-eastern style of music dominated by percussion, chanting and sitars, along with the kind of spindly major-key guitar work found on Vampire Weekend albums. Goat, however, would beg to differ. Their 'World Music' is built around the more literal, inclusive definition - pretty much every culture (and its relevant style of music) is represented here, from African blues ('Diarabi'), Bhangra by way of garage rock (the ludicrously catchy 'Run To Your Mama') and Swedish drone-folk (album closer 'Det som aldrig förändras'). This suggests a fragmented, disparate set of tracks rather than a cohesive album, a mere grab-bag of esoteric cultural tourism. But while it's true that songs can occasionally sound like fusion for the sake of fusion, World Music
greatly benefits from the thick fog of trippy heavy
late-60s psychedelia hanging over the record, helping to keep it all together as well as adding some seriously dirty low end and lots (and lots) of wah-wah. In fact, the tracks 'Goatman' and 'Goathead' (creativity only stretches so far) largely abandon the wild genre-bending in favour of a one-two punch of relentless, trippy and utterly badass rock, topped off with the same appealingly raw and tribal female vocals that appear throughout the record. In this context however, the vocals, which are for the most part insistent, highly rhythmic chanting, become almost another instrument in the dense sound of tracks like 'Let It Bleed', featuring a rolling, ragged groove and freeform sax finish (obviously) and the gloriously silly 'Disco Fever', which melds a Fela Kuti-esque clatter to an organ solo worthy of 'Light My Fire'.
That's not to say that there isn't subtlety among the madness, though. The lovely acoustic guitar outro to 'Goathead', coming as it does after a completely unhinged guitar lead is one of the most pleasantly surprising moments on the album, drawing favourable comparisons to parts of Ulver's 'Kveldssanger'. In fact, the sequencing of the album as a whole is generally excellent, allowing just enough breathing time between the more intense moments to allow them to be appreciated to their full power. Filler is pleasantly lacking, though the spaghetti western meets Black Sabbath stylings of 'Golden Dawn' sound a little less effortless than the other highlights.
To wrap things up, the absolutely mesmeric album-closing pair of 'Goatloard' and 'Det som aldrig förändras' drag an accordion and acoustic guitars to the fore for a lysergic, strangely elegant comedown before blasting one more time into a reprise of 'Diarabi' - proof, if any was needed, that this mercurial band can't stay subdued for any longer than necessary.
Listen To: 'Goathead', 'Diarabi', 'Run To Your Mama'