Post-punk is a genre that isn’t as steeped in what it can be like punk is-or at least-it isn’t from what we can tell. Where punk has elders standing at the back of the room at shows with their arms crossed judging whether or not the newest generation’s clamoring sounds are actually punk, post-punk is more open ended, which is why there’s so much wonderful music coming from the genre. South London four piece Goat Girl were heavily courted by labels, they made quite a splash with their early releases, and with their debut full length Goat Girl, it all makes sense. The album is thoughtful, it doesn’t follow the trend you’d expect, and the end result is an album full of lively notes and brooding vocals you can’t walk away from.
While the album has two obvious lead singles with the first being “Cracker Drool,” it’s the path that leads you to the two tracks where the magic lies. Where “Cracker Drool” fits the post-punk mold, and contains catchy hooks, the bulk of the songs that play before it are so well constructed, that the genre shouldn’t matter. “Burn the Stake” is a slow burn, soft and tender but definitely not a torch song. The vocals should place your ears into the Tom Waits meets Marianne Faithful territory if you need a reference point. “Viper Fish” mixes dark synths and group vocals alongside a rhythmic drum that has this haunting notion that’s hard to shake. When the guitars come in, the song takes a bit of a turn, but it’s welcomed and well crafted here. Goat Girl have what they want to do very honed, and their talents as songwriters come through on these songs.
The way that “Slowly Reclines” has these little touches of guitar stabs helps to create a sound that hasn’t existed on recorded material in over twenty years. The upbeat nature of “The Man with No Heart or Brain” isn’t anywhere close to pop, yet the droning vocals make the song have darker underpinnings that take it further than if it were an actual pop track.
The second single, “The Man” pops and crackles with energy and a pacing that’s closer to eighties punk from the states, though it’s still very much Goat Girl. The song is an obvious single, but there’s plenty happening that show off it’s stronger points. The deadpan vocals drive underneath the song, echoing Title TK era sounds from The Breeders as well. It’s all here and it’s all worthy of repeating.
The band doesn’t just shine in these spaces. “I Don’t Care Pt. 2” steers close to an anthem for the disaffected youth, “Country Sleaze” dances around with a chord structure and an energy that shines like a diamond and the closing cover of the Bugsy Malone track “Tomorrow” brings it all full circle. Goat Girl are their own band treading their own path, one carefully crafted note at a time.
You can stream Goat Girl on all streaming sites, you can purchase it in all digital shops, or you can pick it up directly from the Goat Girl store or directly from Rough Trade. Goat Girl will be on tour starting January 11 in Bognor Regis, UK at Rockaway Beach Festival until May 5 at Stag & Dagger in Glasgow. A complete listing of their upcoming tour dates are available here.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Rough Trade.