The Swedish pan-glob­al­ist, mask-wear­ing psych-rock troupe en­trance Brighton.


Q (UK) - - Contents - AN­DREW PERRY


As the “killer clown” craze has lately proved, there’s some­thing deeply un­set­tling about some­one wear­ing a mask. So it feels when Q, with some trep­i­da­tion, sits down back­stage with one of Swedish pan-glob­al­ist psych-rock troupe, Goat. The man of medium-build, who may be one of their two gui­tarists, but who re­fuses to be iden­ti­fied, en­ters the va­cant dressing room sport­ing a white show­room-dummy-style fa­cial cover, white sun hat and white robe. This would be the band’s first ever face-to­face in­ter­view, if we could ac­tu­ally see that part of his anatomy. Like the 1970s wrestler Kendo Na­gasaki, who claimed to gain his strength from fight­ing masked, Goat’s mys­tique has served them well. Never re­veal­ing them­selves on­stage, nor list­ing cred­its (even made-up ones) on their three al­bums since 2013, their star has risen quickly. But there have been other mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stances: such as, their high-volt­age cock­tail of psychedelia, doom-metal, Afrobeat and as­sorted oth­er­worldly flavours adding up to, ar­guably, the most orig­i­nal sound in mod­ern rock. Fes­ti­val ap­pear­ances, mean­while, have seen vast crowds sur­ren­der to their trance-y rit­u­als with pa­gan­is­tic aban­don. In per­son, though, this whole incog­nito vibe is a touch creepy. Eye con­tact is min­i­mal be­hind shad­owy peep­holes. Asked about the band’s her­itage, our man of


mys­tery gamely upholds the party line that Goat hail from a small com­mu­nity called Kor­pi­lom­bolo in north­ern Swe­den, “up near the Arc­tic Cir­cle, where all you see is dark­ness for one half of the year, and bright light for the other.” He finds it dif­fi­cult to con­ceal his amuse­ment at the con­fu­sion they’re caus­ing: one UK re­view, he chuck­les, mis­quoted the lyrics to Try My Robe, from this year’s epic Re­quiem dou­bleLP, as “eat my clothes, they taste good.” “Although,” he adds, “to be hon­est, even I don’t re­mem­ber our songs’ ti­tles. It gets con­fus­ing, be­cause half of them are called Goat-some­thing.” Come 9pm at the Corn Ex­change, our man plugs in to the right. To the left: an­other, near-iden­ti­cally clad gui­tarist – but taller, with shoul­der-length tresses – and a bassist with red flow­ers in his hair. At the back, a mus­cu­lar drum­mer; front right, a per­cus­sion­ist with a sin­gle, thump­ingly au­di­ble bongo. Out front: the girls, two of them, in match­ing jazzy black-and-white cer­e­mo­nial gowns and feath­ered head-dresses, keen­ing in uni­son over a pum­melling beat and ’ 60s- psych gui­tar. “Chil­dren of the night, sing me your words,” they darkly im­plore, “at the end of my time, sing me your words.” Not for noth­ing have Goat been pegged as the ABBA of Nordic Afro-doom-psych, and the ir­re­sistible spell these two cryptic singers cast only deep­ens as each whips out a chil­dren’s recorder to too­tle the folksy melody to Union Of Sun And Moon. In the flesh, two key fac­tors as­sault the au­di­ence’s senses, as they’re goaded into body move­ment by the women’s ex­citable, un­chore­ographed gy­ra­tions: melody (Goat have this fa­cil­ity up the wa­zoo) and groove, which soon swings into ef­fect on Try My Robe’s Western­ised Ti­nari­wen shuf­fle, shifts up a gear with Goat­fuzz’s Ne­an­derthal neo-pysch pedal abuse and hits full throt­tle as a tin­gling high­life gui­tar fig­ure takes Trou­ble In The Streets deep into Afro-funk ter­ri­tory. For some min­utes, the five-man combo lock into an hyp­notic per­cus­sive cy­cle – Rio Car­ni­val at full pelt – elic­it­ing ec­static whoops from the crowd, as our in­ter­vie­wee fella scratches away at his axe like Nile Rodgers, while Mr Long­hair blasts out scream­ing wah-wah noise à la Ron Asheton from The Stooges – an un­prece­dented com­bi­na­tion. There’s the point: all these in­flu­ences have been float­ing around for 50 years or longer, but rarely have they been mix-and-matched so au­da­ciously. And so Goat roller-coaster on through bliss­ful med­i­ta­tions of sib­ling to­geth­er­ness (I Sing In Si­lence), big beat-style erup­tions of so­cial de­fi­ance (Goat­slaves, com­plete with Chem­i­cal Broth­ers-es­que bassline) and an­other trance-out mid­way through Run To Your Mama. By cli­mac­tic Talk To God, much of the per­spir­ing school­night throng ap­pears to be liv­ing out that track ti­tle quite lit­er­ally. So, what are Goat? Glo­be­trot­ting psy­che­delic storm-troop­ers in pur­suit of a third-eye mys­ti­cal truth? Or an acutely-drilled bunch in fancy dress? Frankly, ei­ther will suf­fice. Pre­his­toric and fu­tur­is­tic in equal mea­sure, these anony­mous Swedes tran­scend post­mil­len­nial ob­ses­sions with celebrity, re­mind­ing us that we thrill-seek­ers are mere de­scen­dants of “prim­i­tive man” gath­ered round a camp­fire shakin’ the night away in self­less com­mu­nion. Now with the pick of three al­bums’ worth of ma­te­rial at their dis­posal, and two strik­ing fig­ures bran­dish­ing cer­e­mo­nial branches for an en­core, they re­ally are the great­est show on earth.

Goat: “the ABBA of Nordic Afro-doompsych”, no less. Work­ing that “creepy incog­nito vibe” to full ef­fect. Herd men­tal­ity: Goat sa­lute Brighton’s “chil­dren of the night.”

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