First albums are all about finding your feet, flexing writing muscles, personalities melding, getting to grips with recording and, in the case of Goat Girl, finding that outlet for their politics (party and personal). Their eponymous 2018 album had a playful menace with an almost rockabilly swagger to songs that tackle difficult subjects, and this could have been a hard act to follow given the incredible response from fans, radio and media. However, you only have to get a couple of songs into On All Fours to realise that, despite a number of personal setbacks faced by the band, they have broadened their sound and the scope of their lyrical content.
Opening track ‘Pest’ is as layered as a mille-feuille and builds slowly through vocals and guitar through to full band and sumptuous harmonies with a restless arpeggiated synthesiser bubbling away underneath. Musically, On All Fours is not so much the raw nerve of the first album but is more assured in its production and use of the studio as another instrument. On a song like ‘Sad Cowboy’ (one of the longer songs on the album) the sound inhabits a number of moods from organic-electronic, through major to minor changes before opening out into a swirling psych track that perfectly matches the songs idea of losing grip on reality. Goat Girl do ballads, they do proto-disco, they sail around 60s chanson but all with a gloriously unsettling edginess that makes them compelling to listen to.
While less confrontational lyrically Goat Girl still tackle the injustice and prejudice they see in the world but see their music as part of an attempt to foster wellbeing in our environment and our mental health and with such layered music. With the strength of Ellie Rose Davies’ vocals at its core, plus those incredible harmonies, you won’t need my lone voice to tell you what an amazing album On All Fours is.
Review by Paul F Cook