Goat Girl’s eponymous 2018 debut album could be both visceral – with singing guitarist Lottie Pendlebury memorably threatening to hit a perv on a train – and more open-ended, two aspects they shared with the post-punk bands of the late 70s. This searching, south London four-piece have expanded the latter tendency on album two, becoming more experimental, and somehow more tuneful, into the bargain.
The low-slung scuzz rock that marked Goat Girl as part of the same unkempt lineage as Shame and Fat White Family isn’t totally gone – witness the threatening guitars on album standout The Crack – but it’s had updates installed. The increased attention to atmospheres mean that songs such as PTS Tea channel more than a little Stereolab; throughout, the burble of analogue keyboards tilts at Broadcast. Even more unexpected is how Sad Cowboy throws in full-on house vibes at its close.
All this is a victory for open-eared eclecticism and Goat Girl’s ability to privilege musicianship over rote murk. But some of this magnificently sullen band’s edges have been filed down; their strides into left field could have been more decisive.