Hook filled and endlessly catchy. Coldly cool, but instantly fun.
Kinetic singles ‘Country Sleaze’ and ‘Cracker Drool’ introduced me to Goat Girl. Figures of style and attitude, these Londoners not only had a great sound, they made statements. ‘The Man’ left another impression. An idea of cool gender-inverted rockers.
The thought of ten or so of these compact rock songs on an album! Like A Hard Day’s Night or Get The Knack, something that could set the world alight. Old chords new culture. Sequence like this. ‘Cracker Drool’, ‘The Man’, and ‘Country Sleaze’ and picture a record easily catching and with plenty to say.
But Goat Girl isn’t that band. Their debut isn’t that album. The record acts out differently, it’s bleak. A sprawling body of work.
This long-player takes many turns. It feels steeped in the halcyon days of Rough Trade: DIY, hippie intellectuals, snotty punks and, literate post punks. A time where a school of thought, an attitude, compelled artists to question, negate, tear down, contrast, draw a line against or simply outdo everything which had came before. Goat Girl flashes with similar colour.
There’s tight-knit rockers but also looser and less structured tracks. Unconventional sounds filter throughout. In terms of art damaged ambition, it fires off. Where others would be blinded by possibility these four excel.
But something I’ve been taken in with lately is this idea of scale. In this world we call music why does great art remain marginal? How far the outsider and unconventional ideas can be taken before they’re polished to all oblivion? As ever, popular music is sorely missing ideas, attitude, and new sounds but what's the remedy?
An attempt to play out a career that seeks to divert the course of popular taste is a minefield of compromise. Yet rock’s track record of cutting through with new and innovative ideas is second to none. It’s founding myth is that it’s the vehicle for the job, to tease out a rebel yell that shakes the foundation. Yet rock’s energy of wasted youth all too often remains smugly cloistered in indie cults, marginal following and critical veneration.
A group like this holds rock's promise. Whether they verge into loftier creative ambitions or deliver a short, sharp shock to the system they’ve got momentum. Be it in their smouldering and spacious form or full rock band mode, there’s a feeling they’re gonna spark.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald