Album Reviews

Goat Girl – Below The Waste

(Rough Trade) UK release date: 7 June 2024

Psychedelic garage rock trio keep the momentum going and push boundaries on their third album

Goat Girl - Below The Waste Three albums in six years might not seem like a lot, but Goat Girl have shown they’re all about quality over quantity and their fanbase is thankfully mostly intact. They’ve been missed. 

Their unique sound, blending psychedelic vibes with garage rock, really stood out on their self-titled debut and their second album, On All Fours. If you’re a fan of bands like Nirvana (who isn’t?), Pixies or even The Gun Club and The Raincoats, but haven’t checked them out yet, you’ll definitely enjoy their refreshingly nostalgic style. 

Their latest album, Below The Waste, keeps the momentum going and might even be their best work yet. It’s just as good as the first two, and maybe even better in some spots. The band – Lottie Pendlebury (she/her), Rosy Jones (they/them) and Holly Mullineaux (she/her) – have clearly expanded their musical range (adding some strings and woodwinds) but retained their original grit and muscularity, giving the album a big, cinematic feel that makes it feel pretty important. 

The first real track on the album, Jump Around, is pure grunge-era alternative rock played loud and with sincerity. You could close your eyes and be right back there in the days of shredded denim and oversized knitwear. It’s a fantastic approximation of an instantly recognisable sound – they play with grunge like Wolf Alice are often wont to – but it immediately reminds you most of their own output. 

The track jump sludge is a real highlight, showing how Goat Girl isn’t afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of what we expect from their sound. It’s bold and adventurous, all the way from the serpentine bass to the otherworldly layers of kaleidoscopic sounds drifting on top of it.

Sleep Talk goes even deeper into wide-screen heartbreaker territory, and it’s got a raw honesty that hits hard – the kind of yearning, forlorn melancholy that true love causes. TCNC threatens (and partially delivers) a grime masterpiece – you’d be hard pressed to find anything released this year that sounds like it.

Another highlight, Pretty Faces, is dreamy and enchanting and ethereal, while Tonight offers an even more peaceful, reflective mood. Songs like Motorway and Perhaps showcase the band’s ability to alternate between accessible, simple rock and some really nasty, sinister tones.

With Below The Waste, Goat Girl proves they can keep their high standards while trying out new things, and actually manage to pull them off. Goat Girl clearly aren’t afraid to take risks and push their creative limits, and this album is proof that they’ve been missed while they’ve been away. Both old fans and new listeners will find a lot to love here, as it really captures what makes Goat Girl such an exciting and innovative band – but they also act as a kind of entry point to a lot of the great music happening in the UK and Ireland over the past few years.

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