Close your eyes while World Music spins and it’s easy enough to piece together a scene for yourself. Think ritual drumming; the soft, rhythmic thump of unclad feet; ancient rites chanted in an unfamiliar tongue and rapt faces lit by the flicker of ceremonial fires while condensation drips lazily from jade-green palm fronds.
Where, now, do you think you might find yourself? Haiti? New Orleans? Saint Sebastian? Matool? Nope, instead all this voodoo-inspired wonder hails from decidedly un-tropical Sweden, courtesy of mischievous newcomers Goat.
While they might be many miles from William Seabrook’s Magic Island and their shtick – which includes an ancient curse and one member claiming he’s the 11th son of a voodoo priest – requires more than a pinch of salt to get onboard with, there’s at least one pivotal factor that certainly doesn’t fail to convince and that’s the music itself.
Channelling a more joyous energy than many others might if given the same source material (Fabio Frizzi or Steve Moore, say), Goat’s music is enigmatic and fittingly potent given the religion they’ve used as inspiration. Startling and possessed with a steady grasp of how different elements can gel and offset each other, the vertiginous mix means they’re perhaps the only band on the planet who can simultaneously bring to mind Can, Fela Kuti, Liquid Liquid and Moby Grape.
Basslines hulk and lurk, goading you pushily towards the dancefloor while psychotropic guitar parts conjure impossible colours and chanted, voice-as-instrument ululations score a deep path through your subconscious despite only one word in 50 ever actually making sense. Dip in at any point and you’re bound to hit gold, whether you light upon the cartwheel riffing of opener Diarabi, the glorious, organ-dappled funk of Disco Fever or the primal rattle and grunt of the beautiful but far-too-short Run to Your Mama.
You’ll soon find, however, that being a casual bystander simply isn’t an option: it’s all too captivating, too delirious and too gosh-darn wonderful for you not to join the fray. So surrender your mind, body and soul to the Goat and one of the year’s best albums so far.