Much of the talk surrounding Goat concerns their rather fabulous back story. Apparently the band has slowly evolved over generations in the small Swedish village Korpolombolo. The village itself has long existed under a curse placed upon it by a visiting witchdoctor who was put to death by the Christians. The band rarely gives interviews which helps to maintain a sense of mystery over almost everything they do.
Knowledge of this possibly spurious tale is not in the slightest bit important when it comes to actually enjoying what Goat do. In fact, it is little more than a diversion that almost obscures the brilliance of what lurks on each of these tracks. When the music does the talking, there’s no need for the set up of a slightly mystical biography, the magic exists in what the band play. Voodoo roots and curses are a nice embellishment, but ultimately, entirely unnecessary.
What makes Goat utterly fascinating is their ability to sound as if they come from everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. Their home town might well be within the confines of Sweden, but their music exists in a universe without boundaries, where influences and ideas can be discovered and riffed upon with ease. The title of World Music might be slightly off-putting at first, simply because it conjures up images of middle management types in Kaftans dancing about in a field before indulging in cosmic ordering using a handcrafted authentic bongo drum. Put those images to one side, and dig deeper and you’ll find that Goat has managed to create not just a world of their own, but an album that draws on influences from all over the world.
The journey begins with Diarabi, an instrumental with its roots in ’70s Cosmic Rock. Dashes of Eastern influences combine with thundering bassnotes and scampering drums, to create something that wouldn’t be out of place on an OM album. Goatman continues in a similar vein, throwing some ferocious wah-wah guitar into the mix along with tribal chants and incessant voodoo drums. It is dirty, filthy, spiritual rock and roll. Had Hendrix made it into his 70th year, it’s quite conceivable he’d have approved.
Goathead sees the wah-wah getting a further outing, as the album starts to become more feral and raw. The guitars and bass are ferocious, but also seem to be on the verge of disintegrating thanks to the extreme duress they’re being put under. The female vocals too appear to haemorrhage as they’re screamed and chanted. The acoustic section that closes the song attempts to temper the rush of what has preceded it, but it’s already too late. The rites initiated by Goat are already well under way.
Disco Fever changes tack a little by mixing afrobeat (Fela Kuti’s influence is strong on the album) with seething keyboards fragranced with incense and peppermints. The approach might be different to the space rock of the opening few tracks, but the band’s intent remains to inspire a wild dance of abandonment. Let It Bleed takes the foot of the gas slightly as it takes a gargantuan toke, kicks back, and swings with an almost calypso rhythm. It might not be as wild as Goat’s more direct moments, but it doesn’t need to be, sometimes manyana is the perfect response.
Goatlord finds the band indulging in a little psych-folk. With reverb drenched vocals and a guitar solo that arrives in shredded form before the shredding even begins, it’s a strange but effective brew of rustic violence. Closing track Det Som Aldrig Forandras manages to cram all those ’70s prog rock influences up against elements of folk, tribal rhythms, drone, afrobeat, and somehow still find time to hold the whole thing together with a liberal application of Krautrock. As if that weren’t enough, it also slips into a cascading version of Diarabi as it ends, ensuring that the album (which is already close to perfection) has a perfectly circular nature.