You can go one of two ways when you deliver a debut that was as loved as Goat Girl's was. While some might try to re-use a little bit more of that same initial magic and rush out an identikit version as soon as possible, others take their time to build and grow, to experiment and shoot off into new directions. Returning after nearly three years, the Londoners have definitely done the latter. As edgy and unsettling in one moment as it is smooth and dance-worthy in the next, this is an exciting evolution in every way.
If their first album contained vivid pictures of the world that Goat Girl lived in, then 'On All Fours' is like the sequel that pushes the perspective even wider, if a little darker. Having previously found lyrical inspiration in the grime and dirt of everyday life, now it is the entire western world that falls under their unblinking gaze. Not so much creep on the train then, more pest from the west these days. Themes of gentrification, homelessness, anxiety, depression, the damage and destruction wrought by generations of climate change denial run through each and every track. In the hands of a less surefooted band, the weightiness of these huge issues could easily overwhelm a record, but Goat Girl carry them deceptively lightly on a record that shows a stratospheric leap forward in sound.
Tracks like 'Jazz (In A Supermarket)', plainly experimental in their origins, evolve into moments of blissful groove that demand to dance, while the scathing 'Badibaba' and comeback single 'Sad Cowboy', a song that feels more and more like a defining moment, highlight a new synthier sound that gels perfectly with the grungier elements. Freewheeling and frequently as off-kilter as it is offbeat, 'On All Fours' is a record that feels like a fever dream at points. Every emotion and scene feels heightened, tough subject matters being faced head-on with an unblinking gaze of defiance. While it may not be as immediate and in-your-face as the debut, 'On All Fours' is a record that hits harder and holds infinitely more weight behind it. By the time the lush closer 'A-Men' slinks in, the world that Goat Girl have created is once again so evocative and atmospheric that many will not want to leave.