Sweden’s Goat remain consistent in their commitment to the ideal of a shadowy cabal of cultural chaos. The masked collective have wrapped their records in the remnants of psychedelic collector aesthetic, clipping bits of the past and present with a hunger for genres that finds them globetrotting from African polyrhythms, to heavy UK prog grooves, touches of jazz fusion skronk, and the heady homegrown psych that pulls from the Sweden’s own past. For their latest, Oh Death, they continue to burrow through these bins, suturing their danceable rhythm clatter to reed-ready scorch, enveloping a more prominent ripple of NY ‘70s punk funk fallout in the process.
Astride their usual multicultural cavalcade they mount a No Wave wash of paint-peeler sax and a winking ripple of New Wave pop that finds the band taking an unexpected turn through Bow Wow Wow and Tom Tom Club territory. While the clash of cultures and six-ton torch of guitar fuzz have long been expected, its nice to see the band playing with some true pop elements, making the record feel like much more than a psych collage of cultural paste-ons. The record’s central theme seems to be a spirit of dance, rendering its somber title a bit of a wink and a nod — Oh death, you can’t keep us down, we’ll dance to your door. The band has always delivered on their promise of heady intentions, but with Oh Death, they seem to be taking the whole endeavor a bit less serious, leaning into the fun of the costumed wonderland they’ve worked up over the years. Gotta say it’s one of their best yet because of the shift.
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