Goat: Live Ballroom Ritual – album review
Goat – Live Ballroom Ritual (Rocket Recording)
CD / DL / LP
With the release in 2012 of their debut album, Goat were hailed by many a critic and a few fans. This year, however, the band’s profile has rocketed, thanks in large part to the power of their live shows. The release of a live album, therefore, was inevitable … for Louder Than War, Simon Tucker reviews Goat: Live Ballroom Ritual.
Goat’s Glastonbury performances this year were some of the most talked about and highly rated of the entire weekend giving festival goers and TV viewers their first glimpse of the Swedish bands take on Afro-Beat and Voodoo psychedelic blues. (Check out our John Robb review for proof therein – ed). The band then gave an incendiary performance at last month’s final ATP weekender, destroying many other bands with their power and visual aesthetics. (Check out our review by Simon himself for proof therein – ed).
This set consists mainly of material from that debut album and is a fine example of why people are flocking to see them in their droves. However, the one issue that this release has is that they are so strong visually that on record that impact is slightly weakened. Yes, the musicianship is tight and the vocals are spot on (the set contains great versions of Golden Dawn, Run To Your Mama, and Goatman) but the bass is not high enough in the mix and can be overawed by the wah-wah lead guitars, losing some of the funk and power of the great rhythm section. The crowd sound like they’re having fun and enjoying the gig and this release does make you wish you were there enjoying the music in a hot sweaty venue losing yourself to the ritualistic rhythms, but this is where the band face a dilemma. Being such a powerful and visually arresting band obviously has its plus-side, but it also makes their recorded output pale in comparison. World Music is no doubt a great album, as is this release, but once you’ve experienced the Goat live show they unfortunately lose some of their impact.
This release is a must listen for people wanting to get into Goat and for those who’ve heard the debut album. It is also a release that should serve a purpose and make people want to see them live, but for their next release the band really need to try and capture the intensity of their gigs on record. A tough task granted.
Stream the album in full here.