They’re a curious bunch, this Goat Girl band.
Named after US comic Bill Hick’s randy Pan-like alter-ego Goat Boy, they’ve adopted their own Punk-ish, monikers Clottie Cream, Rosy Bones, Holly Hole and L.E.D.
Signed by zeitgeist echo locators Rough Trade, their self-titled debut was full of angular guitars and confrontational social commentary.
Short snappy and in your face, it packed 19 tracks into its 40-minute running time.
Now they’re back with a new album On All Fours, a new(-ish) bassist – Hole replacing Naima Jelly – and a new expansive sound.
The guitars are still there, but largely tamed and melded with a wholehearted embrace of electronica and a cooler, more abstract approach.
Songs are longer, often with shifting time signatures and the raw edges of the first record hewn away.
It’s mature, controlled, precise and lush, tracks The Crack – which tells of humans fleeing a dying planet – make you want to use words like mellifluous.
Genres are fused, mashed and completely thrown out of the window – the epic Bang sounding like a contender for the next Bond theme.
Storytelling is less explicit, but the band have an uncanny knack for using small personal events to expound on wider themes.
Western arrogance is chided on The Pest and more intimately in the tale of painful brush with an inconsiderate idiot on a ferry on P.T.S Tea.
On Badibada airy harmonies create a breezy backdrop as the protagonists blithely ignore a developing global emergency.
“Carry on like we’re protected/As if we’re unaffected,” L.E.D sings before it all comes crashing down in the jarring final movement.
With its Morricone-esque guitars, single Sad Cowboy begins as a moonlit tour of the local neighbourhood, but by the end, things are not quite as they seem.
Synths and tape loops help create a pervading sense of alienation on tracks like Anxiety Feels, while the discomfiting They Bite On You will leave you squirming in your seat.
In lesser hands On All Fours could have come across as clinical and dispassionate, but icy keyboards are warmed up considerably by Hole’s brilliant lead basslines and Cream’s voice – which has a depth and lived-in quality well beyond her years.
The band quote Battles and Metronomy as influences for this record, but for me it’s closer to the post-rock of Talk Talk, or the knowing stylistic playfulness of David Byrne.
With the help of producer Dan Carey – they’ve come up with an album that sounds quite unlike anything else around and yet weirdly timeless and familiar.
On All Fours is such a departure from its debut – it could have been recorded by a different band – but it’s no less enthralling for all that.
Like I say, they’re a curious lot, these Goat Girls.
- On All Fours is out now on Black Double LP, Transparent Pink Double LP & CD. Purchase details here.
- For more about Goat Girl visit them on Facebook, Instagram or at their website.