Album Review

Goat Girl - Below The Waste 

Outward looking yet markedly personal, it considers the relationships humans have both with the world, and with each other.

Goat Girl - Below The Waste

A band for whom politics and activism have always been an integral part of their collective identity (for no greater reason than simply because their eyes are open to the fuckery of the world around them), Goat Girl are, on their third full-length, broadening their horizons ever further. And having done so is no mean feat. Since their 2021 second album ‘On All Fours’, the quartet have become a trio, and have between them faced significant personal obstacles; had they consequently sought solace in the familiarity of their South London post-punk roots, you could hardly have blamed them. 

Instead, though, ‘Below The Waste’ presents something altogether more interesting. Weaving field recordings of animal noises, rainfall, and laughter into a rich instrumental tapestry, the project is an intricately layered exploration of the push and pull between an idealised natural world and our destructive urban realities. “Cash machines in overflow / All the parks are left to grow / From the seeds / We have sown,” croons Lottie Pendlebury atop the swirling textures of ‘perhaps’ - a sort of ecologically-minded take on the utopian optimism of ‘Imagine’. There’s something eerie and almost primordial about the instrumental ‘jump sludge’; bedroom pop-adjacent single ‘motorway’, meanwhile, is more grounded in the quotidian, finding comfort in the liminal space between origin and destination. Shorter interludes of airier sonics (namely opener ‘reprise’, ‘prelude’, and ‘s.m.o.g.’) offset the LP’s sometime density, but when Goat Girl permit themselves the space to fully unfurl - as on masterful, six-minute closer ‘wasting’ - the results are utterly immersive. 

And, for all its outward-looking sensibilities, ‘Below The Waste’ is still a markedly personal offering, considering not just the relationship humans have with the world, but those we have with each other. The trifecta of tracks which deal with drummer Roo’s experiences of addiction - ‘words fell out’, ‘tcnc’, and ‘take it away’ - are each stunningly potent in markedly different ways, ultimately highlighting the significance of resilience and mutual support as a means of refashioning ourselves in a new, better image. 

Tags: Goat Girl, Reviews, Album Reviews

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