Goat – Commune
Opening with its curious high ring, bell like in tone, Commune makes it clear from the start that it’s not an album for the untrained ear.
At first there is a similar sense of dream that comes from doom rockers Sunn O))), but it’s not long before the more eclectic percussion and looped guitars launch into action and take the opening track ‘Talk To God’ in an entirely different direction. Just as fellow alterna-rockers Battles and Foals build up the sound to epic heights, Goat similarly create music that is drenched in joy and filled with the sense of the enjoyment of those performing it. ‘Words’ yelps and splutters its disjointed rock, sounding like R.E.M’s sweaty ‘I Took Your Name’ has been chopped up and pasted back together again in the middle of a Jack White improv session. ‘The Light Within’ explodes like a kind of Jimi Hendrix thumbnail sketch, while ‘To Travel The Path Unknown’ opens up like a Godspeed You Black Emperor piece, all dark and brooding with its heavy tremolo and insistently expressive guitar riff that leads the track onwards along the titular unknown path. ‘Goatchild’ sounds exactly like the band’s own spawn, blending swirling psych rock tones with world music yelps that create an eerie tone that sits somewhere between sixties incense burning hippy tunes and the previously mentioned horror rock of Sunn O))) and Swans. ‘Goatslaves’ keeps going in the creepy direction, with its heavily treated vocals that lead into a trundling guitar riff, swiftly followed by squealing and expressive voices, while single ‘Hide From The Sun’ ping-pongs its melody in a way that brings up memories of The Shining for some strange reason. It’s a track that unloads its sitar sounds onto the listener who would be otherwise unsuspecting had they not been prepared for it by the content of the album so far. The real surprise is found at the track’s mid point, when the distorted and heavily compressed lead guitar bursts in, firing its notes out across the savannah. The album’s penultimate track ‘Bondye’ features some seriously hectic washed out cymbal crashes that sit underneath the reverb laden guitars, turning the track into a blissed out deluge of shoegazey psych rock. Compared with the rest of the tracks on offer, it feels like something of a one trick pony, although that’s not to be such a bad thing here as it gives the listener the chance to delve deep into its droney soundscapes. By the end of its run, and its bouncy wah wah tones begin to creep into the scene, the track has turned into a full on stoner piece that has the potential to divide the opinion of its listeners. losing with ‘Gathering of Ancient Tribes’, Commune reaches its conclusion in the most appropriate way it can, with expressive screams, hearty driven guitars, and the ever present hint of world music sitting underneath it all. It’s not an album for everyone, but it’s certainly going to be a joy to anyone wanting to expand their musical horizons a little.