It’s a somewhat cruel twist of fate, that the fourth record by the mysteriously bedecked and anonymously manned Goat, would be released in the week that the world unfortunately had to say goodbye to the permanently dapper and jazz tinged Mr Charlie Watts, latterly drummer with The Rolling Stones. Its title Headsoup is, after all, a clever little homage to the criminally under appreciated early ’70s album that a large percentage of fans and critics have unjustly labelled as the start of Mick and Keef’s inevitable creative downturn. Thankfully with yet another forceful collection of tunes, that’s not something anyone will be saying about these mischievous Swedish psych rockers for a while.
Culled from various single B sides, radio edits and with two unreleased tracks bolted onto the rear, the band’s musical cauldron appears to be simmering over with malevolent goodness. Much like Brian Jones famously went off to Morocco in search of cheap heroin and the Master Musicians of Jajouka, so Goat similarly find solace in the rhythms and practices of the North African landscape. Opener The Sun & Moon, which dates back from their very first seven inch way back in 2012, carries with it, elements of High Life and Tuareg polyrhythms. Looking back at that record in hindsight, its sleeve adorned with images of satanic monsters, occult geometry and tribesman performing unknown rituals, it’s pretty obvious that the band have always had some rather devilish sympathies.
The eerie farmyard creatures for which they took their name run, skip and let it bleat across the record, from the talismanic hullabaloo of early single Stonegoat through to the louche loungecore chinking that’s to be heard on the echoey Goatfizz. Occasionally an air of informed pastiche emanates from some of the more histrionic numbers. The Snake Of Addis Ababa for example, sounds like it was pulled from a tiki library record from the mid ’60s about snake charmers and belly dancers and then the discordant flutes that are naively deployed on Union Of Mind & Soul recall a junior school band being conducted by a particularly feverish Dennis Hopper circa his Easy Rider phase.
Unlike say, the work of the Arizona brothers Richard and Alan Bishop (who also hid their faces behind what would nowadays be considered culturally appropriated headgear and made record after record of globally infused psychedelia from the late ’70s through to the mid ’00s with complete seriousness) what sets Goat apart is that wicked streak of humour and pulsing pop accessibility as evidenced on the stupidly catchy recent single Queen Of The Underground. Call them the Sun City Girls Aloud if you must, but don’t think about exiling this lot just yet.