The only time I ever saw someone spontaneous combust was at a Goat concert.
Amidst the mayhem and the sweaty, shamanistic cacophony of their live performance, it seemed the band had whipped the crowd into such a tremulous frenzy that smoke started to smoulder out of the vegan sandals of a wizened hippy flailing around beside me. Truly, if ever a vision could fully encapsulate the experience and sound of a live act, then this would be it. As it turned out, he had just dropped his jazz cigarette (nearly setting his clowning trousers on fire) but the point still holds. Goat have the power to bring elemental forces to bear on their listenership.
For the uninitiated, Goat’s anonymous members claim to hail from the remote and cursed village of Korpilombo in northern Sweden, where inhabitants had for centuries been devoted to a form of voodoo introduced by a travelling witch doctor. That myth might conjure up a long lost episode of Tribe with Bruce Parry but add a dab of Sun Ra, a puff of Ty Segall’s Fuzz and a micro dose of Wooden Shjips and you’ve got the perfect prescription for what the masked psych collective have to offer.
As for this collection of new tracks, rarities and flipsides, we start off with The Sun The Moon which is typical of the band’s broad psychedelic archetype – grinding bass, relentless tribal drumming, twin vocals screamed by high priestesses – with pan flute cavorting in amongst a circle of flaming wah guitar.
New single Queen of the Underground growls out like a menacing Djinn spirit looking for the nearest set of auditory organs to infect and is thrilling enough, even if it doesn’t mess too strongly with Goat’s sound in trade.
When they do decide to change things up a bit, as on the Suicide inspired It’s Time For Fun, the results are genuinely intriguing and worth getting back in the room for, while the B-side to that track shows them at their experimental best on the mellotron soaked Relax.
In all, the album is better experienced as a cumulative vibe rather than individual songs and that’s probably the desired effect – a longer format trip when you’re in the mood to lose yourself for an hour, especially as a musical companion to medicinal nourishment.
Goatfuzz from 2016’s effort Requiem is indicative of their genuine psychedelic power and where the band perform at their strongest, riffing off a relentless, mantric groove that would have you making a Mumu out of your best linen and prancing around the bedroom in short order.
This timely retrospective holds up the mysterious Swedes’ musical process to closer inspection, which is reward in itself, but teamed with the new material, it turns out to be the kind of album that should be ingested at regular intervals – not matter what your physician might say.