Album: Goat Girl – On All Fours review

By Phil Scarisbrick

While the lyrics step back and take a more abstract look at the world, they also feel more personal – a stunning second record

On their self-titled debut, Goat Girl created a scatter-gun collection of short, sharp, acerbic punk that left little to the imagination in terms of their directness. This vitriolic earnestness, combined with their superb live show, earned them a burgeoning audience. Now, they return with a new record – On All Fours – that veers away from the sound and lyrical stylings that endeared them, while keeping them just enough in sight to feel like a continuation of what came before.

Once again produced by Dan Carey, the band tapped up his expertise with electronics – as well as new bassist, Hollie Hole’s instrument collection – to create an expansive record that is not only grander in sound, but also in the themes that it tackles. While often sounding personal, the lyrics have a duality that can see them apply to more global themes. Sad Cowboy feels deeply introspective, with our narrator speaking of feeling uncomfortable in the world, yet this feeling of ‘Slippin’ my hold/It comes and it goes/The feeling we’re told/Isn’t so,’ could easily apply to wider society. The synth line in the middle eight/bridge section feels tense and awkward, adding an evocative element to accentuate the words.

On The Crack, the metaphorical title’s onomatopoeic tone emphasises the narrative acutely. The music and melody flit between the urgency of the riff and verses, and the more laid back feel of the chorus. Once again, its theme is delivered in a personal way, but through the prism of a wider concern for the environmental issues that we’re ceaselessly accelerating towards. Babadida questions whether human action can be selfless, and feels very apt for the moment. In a world where companies seemingly want to help frontline workers with discounts and priority slots, pharmaceutical companies are working around the clock on treatments and vaccines, and then people in general becoming very tribal in the name of ‘protecting others’, it is hard to believe there is much, if any, selflessness occurring. It feels far more cynical than that in reality – emphasised by the visceral delivery, and cynical charge.

Pest had its genesis in deconstructing a Murdoch headline, ‘Beast From The East’. You know that no word appears by accident in those publications, and their intention is to create a reaction that helps push an agenda. ‘I have no shame when I say step the fuck away!’ sings Clottie Cream in a return to the direct messaging of the debut album. 

Quite often when you get the ‘guitar band adds synths’ situation, it feels like they’ve just added the electronics in to fatten the sound out. With On All Fours, though, it feels absolutely integral to the composition and creation of the music here. While the lyrics take a step back and look at the world in a more abstract way, they also feel more personal. The duality of the themes discussed mean that there is far more to latch onto from an empathetic point of view. Every facet of the record feels like a step forward for the band, and comes together to create a stunning sophomore.

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