8th April | Rough Trade
An ominous gloom fills the room in Rough Trade as everyone files together into the space. Spooky creatures adorn the stage, homemade props that almost seem as if they are staring you straight in the eye, glaring into your soul. It’s only made creepier by the dimly-lit nature of the stage – immersing the figures in a deeper shade of eeriness – and there’s obviously an intent and purpose to such interior decoration.
Goat Girl‘s music isn’t afraid to explore and expose the increasingly distasteful state of not only the capital, from which they’ve come, but also our slowly intoxicating culture as a whole, pervaded by creeps, the vampiric elites and our own overwhelming, vehement anxiety. The ghouls represent the caricatures that loom over the group’s record, vexing us in our nightmares and in reality, and suitably deliver some context for what approaches.
Performing as a six-piece live with the added inclusion of violin, rattling percussion and forbidding synth, the group have an ever rougher-round-the-edges approach to their set, even with the enhancement of instruments that create a richer sound. ‘Creep,’ with its nagging bassline and wistful, tense violin sway, adds a layer of drugged inebriation to the atmosphere, as Clottie Cream acerbically depicts a sycophant and his disgusting behaviour with her dead-pan delivery.
The guitars bounce and bicker amongst one another. Bright melodies are subtly unveiled through ‘I Don’t Care Pt.1 & 2,’ yet there are dense, heavier turns too. The group deliver their vocal with almost murmured reticence.
There’s a sense of restraint layered under the increasingly impulsive rhythm of ‘Throw Me a Bone’ and ‘The Man With No Heart or No Brain.’ It could sound easily strike as effortless through lack of care. Yet what is actually evoked is a sense of despair, worn as discouragement, that overwhelms their lyricism and establishes their solemnness.
The group crack laughs with each other throughout, yet are undoubtedly a focused and perhaps at times impregnable band. They conjoin with the crowd to simply introduce the next track; it seems little is needed to be said. That certainly is the case when you can let your music do the speaking, which you’ll see that they do, if you take the time to delve deep enough, with a great deal of honest sentiment.
For short, sub-three-minute songs like these, they’ve always packed a lot into each track whilst remaining concise. By instilling such a formula, they have begun to craft a cohesive live set that feels convincing and not in need of bulking out with improvisation. The tracks retain that raw, natural energy that they have managed to capture on record. ‘Country Sleaze’, with its rockabilly coyness and invasive lyricism, means that you have to be made of stone to not feel vile upon hearing, “Touch my body, touch my soul, Touch that deep and disused hole.”
Goat Girl are an impactful group. They have bypassed the hype and crafted a live set that captures the emotion of their comprehensive and sadly accurate perception of London and the UK at the current time.