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It is hard to know how many times the mythology and mystery of Goat’s backstory can be written about, but new release ‘Medicine’ does away with any need to dwell on the past, returning with a more introspective, slightly mellower psych-folk sound that remains recognisably them.
There is a consistently restrained, warm feel across the whole work, and the band suggest that the overall theme of the album is about “the impermanence of life in different ways: sickness, relationships, love, death and how our time is finite”.
At times the album’s sound has nods to classic Swedish 70s psych/prog/folk acts such as Arbete & Fritid, Charlie & Esdor and Träd, Gräs & Stenar. ‘Vakna’ takes on this influence, progressing across nearly six minutes of swaying, warping guitar solos, without ever breaking out into chaos.
The ‘Medicine’ of the title may refer to a number of salves, or the value of relationships and love: “For our families, friends, society, this could be done through the use of psychedelics, through meditation, through learning from other people, staying curious and never settling for a ‘solid’ identity”.
Flute is foregrounded throughout, threading across several tracks from the opener ‘Impermanence And Death’. It duets elegantly with keening synth lines through the beautiful ‘You’ll Be Alright’, and leads the melody of the closing track ‘Tripping In The Graveyard’. ‘TSOD’, with its backdrop of sitar and acoustic guitar, has an indelible vocal melody that could be a lost George Harrison recording.
The title of the full album version of first single, ‘I Became The Unemployment Office’, comes from an expression for someone taking advantage of you. The joyous, echo-laden groove of penultimate track ‘Join The Resistance’ bursts into life and continues to build to a moment of release with a huge Sabbath-esque riff.
Whatever your dosage, and regardless of your remedy, it is now time to take your medicine.
Barry says: Another slab of Goat for the ol' ears is never a bad thing, and on 'Medicine' the swedish psychedelic powerhouse are on peak form. It's more of the same woozy psychedelic fare but honed to perfection through years of meticulous practice. Fuzzy guitars and scattered percussion, thundering basslines and loads of tremolo. Brilliant.
01. Impermanence & Death
02. Raised By Hills
03. I Became The Unemployment Office
06. You’ll Be Alright
07. Join The Resistance
08. Tripping In The Graveyard