Label: Rough Trade Records
Released: 6th April 2018
Sick. It’s the word which keeps coming up, thinking about the excellent, much-anticipated debut by South London’s Goat Girl. Sick as in ‘well sick’? Perhaps. But it’s there from ‘Salty Sounds’, a haunting intro – one of a few instrumental interludes – with the briny, acrid tang of something deeply unpleasant rolling in over the sea. And it’s there in singer Lottie (‘Clottie Cream’)’s scathing howl on ‘Burn The Stake’ – railing against “filthy fakes”, the chorus crashing in with more than a little of Babes in Toyland’s savage clamour – and in the folky, fed-up ‘Creep’ – “Creep on the train… with his dirty trouser stain… I really want to smash your head in” – brooding and menacing with woozy, queasy violin. Or the snapping, disjointed guitar lines in ‘Viper Fish’ and ‘Cracker Drool’ – sarcastically jaunty, shuffling raggedly in like a troupe of dancing skeletons – and the staggering, swampy chorus of ‘Slowly Reclines’, or the way ‘The Man With No Heart Or Brain’ lurches and spirals into thrashy full gear.
There’s a sickness in the surfy ‘The Man’, too, with Clottie sardonically purring “You’re the man for me” in a way which implies anything but; suggesting a close relation of the crass Casanova in The Big Moon’s ‘Cupid’. The vengeful streak from ‘Creep’ rears its head again in ‘I Don’t Care Part 1’ – visualising releasing a wild animal inside a room of Awful People, with “all their clothes and fancy hair”, and on ‘Throw Me A Bone’, suggesting “If you throw me a bone/I’ll throw back a sharp stone” as Rosy Bones’ intentful toms beat a distant, ominous pattern; “If you take me home/then you’ll end up alone”. It all ends with ‘Tomorrow’, a gently picked intro bringing a brief glimmer of healing light, but quickly adds that it “never comes”, waltzing doomily into oblivion, ending this brilliant, darkly fascinating first album with an innocent trill of bird song. Pretty sick then – and they might even get better. Rob Mesure