As a student, I was obsessed with the late Bill Hicks, a truly inspirational comedian who died in 1994. I had the wonderful luck of seeing him live in 1992. I also know a fabulous chap called Chas Early, who developed a marvellous show for Edinburgh called Bill Hicks: Slight Return, imagining Bill back on earth for one day. It was superb - do look it up, I am sure it’s online somewhere. If you know Bill’s work, he had a truly filthy and disturbing character called “Goat Boy”, so I approach Goat Girl with some trepidation…
Although their name is indeed inspired by the wonderful Mr Hicks, Goat Girl are nowhere near as depraved or deranged. Hailing from south London (as do all good hearted souls, obvs), On All Fours is their second album of post-punk, jarring, playful and occasionally unsettling music.
The all-female four piece with their adopted monikers (Clottie Cream, LED, Rosy Bones and Holy Hole) have built on the promise of their eponymous debut, but broadened the scope of their music - it’s looser, more experimental and more electronic. On All Fours has a softer side, delivering 13 songs of tuneful, but distorted music, with lyrics that consider the issues of the wider world, but from a very intimate and personal perspective.
That singer Ellie Rose Davies (aka Clottie Cream) was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma just before they started making the album affects its mood, if not directly the lyrics. There’s a sense of life’s short - this album reflects that in its breadth and eclecticism. Her vocals remind me of Justine Frischmann (Elastica), no bad thing.
Bang is all four part harmonies and pop perfection, Sad Cowboy is spiralling synths and a slightly off-kilter guitar riff, while Badibaba is catchy as hell, with its twin chorus that will bury itself in your head for weeks. The Crack stomps along, all heavy guitars, cowbells and metronomic beats - “Cracks form when the earth's torn, can't go back” they sing to the people who would rather worship some imagined deity, than face the inevitable damage that climate change is doing.
In the face of adversity, this is a brave album - experimental, but welcoming. Closer A-Men is a lovely, chilled, almost lilting finish - “Bless God, He tries”. Well worth checking out!