Release Date: Apr 6, 2018
Record label: Rough Trade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Psychedelic/Garage, Garage Rock
Hailing from South London with a moniker inspired by one of Bill Hicks' most controversial (some might say grotesque) characters, Goat Girl don't beat about the bush when it comes to making their intentions clear. Their self-titled debut might reference their native city in many ways, but this really is no Ray Davies or Damon Albarn affected homage. Goat Girl documents what it's like to be a young woman living in a downtrodden, debt ridden, post-Brexit capital where divisions by class, race and gender persist all too evidently.
Wonky, weird and resolutely DIY, South London's Goat Girl make the kind of ragged, jagged music that's at once spookily ominous and utterly exhilarating. The four piece's debut album is a grubby, clattering thing that takes its lead from 1980s LA punk trailblazers like X and The Gun Club, who took traditional country music and fed it moonshine until it fell down in a ditch, then scraped the mud off its jeans, handed it a microphone and a broken electric guitar and made it walk through broken glass to sing in a grotty toilet venue bar over a broken PA system. Goat Girl have mixed this scrappy sound with the gothic ennui of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and the doomy experimentalism of Tom Waits.
There may be many reasons for this frankly unwarranted vitriol, blatant misogyny among them. But, judging by Goat Girl 's self titled debut album, a key reason could be that Goat Girl simply don't give a shit about them. As a band, Goat Girl are post-punk for a generation that have grown up fast; readying themselves for the post-Brexit world where opportunities are already starting to drift away.
June 24, 2016--the day Britain voted to leave the European Union--was a dreadful one. And yet something hopeful happened that day: Four teens who called themselves Goat Girl inked a deal with Rough Trade. Two years later, following a round of premature hype as one of the UK's most promising bands, they've released their debut LP. Goat Girl, whose members are now in their early 20s, are navigating post-adolescence in a time of queasy division between the young and old.
Goat Girl's name may come from a Bill Hicks sketch, but taken on its own, it suggests a mythical, witchy female power that abounds on the band's self-titled debut album. While none of the band's members -- Clottie Cream, Naima Jelly, L.E.D., and Rosy Bones -- were over 20 when they recorded these songs, their smoldering mix of post-punk attitude, goth atmosphere, and country twang has roots that go deep and wide into English indie, calling to mind fierce artists like PJ Harvey, Siouxsie Sioux, Electrelane, and PINS. This connection -- and occasional tension -- between past and present informs the album in fascinating ways.
First albums by guitar bands tend not to come out in the wake of much hype these days, but as these things go in 2018 Goat Girl have built up quite a sense of expectation for their debut. This doesn't seem deliberate, however. Indeed, one gets the impression that Goat Girl - hidden behind pseudonyms and channelling the slackness of bands like The Fall and Fat White Family - couldn't really give a shit if anyone's impatiently waiting for release day, or if anyone thinks the album is any good, or whether the album is, in fact, any good.
At first glance the 19-song tracklist of Goat Girl's debut album might put off a casual listener, but given that very few of them even reach the two-minute mark, let alone three, the record skips by at almost too brisk a pace. Anyone aware of the London four-piece's knack for achieving more in just one-and- a-half minutes than many bands manage in six already knows that this brevity betrays no dearth of ideas. Earworm guitar licks and choir-like harmonies sprout unexpectedly from Goat Girl's skeletal, unpredictable songs like wildflowers in landfill.
Goat Girl – self-titled Although there is currently a head of hype steam building up around south London's Goat Girl, which has them often mentioned in the same breath as their prematurely-lauded nearby peers Shame, something more organic and uncontrived is at play than first appears. Certainly, taking an older fashioned self-development route - via a series of collectible 7" singles and a slew of positive reputation-building live shows – since signing to Rough Trade a couple of years ago may have helped to escape early overreach, allowing this debut album to showcase greater eclecticism and craft than if it had been rush-released. Whilst packing 19 tracks into 40 or so minutes may contradict such an assertion of thoughtful artistry, in reality it translates to 15 or so 'proper' songs interspersed with some bridging interlude pieces.