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Goat: Commune (Album Review)

What intrigues about Goat is how they manage to impress and startle, rather than offend. After all, the notion of a bunch of Swedes taking African-styled guitar melodies and welding them on to droning psychedelia could easily be taken for cultural appropriation.

But then Goat, with their masked players on stage, are reliant upon appropriation for their exotic sense of otherness, which is key to their appeal. What saves them is their thrillingly unconstrained music, which doesn’t sound contrived or calculated, but like an explosion of expression. This time the guitars are less west African than Saharan, spiralling away hypnotically. You might say the female vocalist (Goat keep almost all identities secret) has a voice of only one tone, an expressionless and full‑throated yell. But that’s countered by the fact that it contributes to the sense that Goat are less a band than some sort of cult ritual. Commune sounds like the soundtrack to an imaginary early 70s horror film, and it’s wonderful.