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Commune, the second studio album for Swedish group Goat starts off slowly with long, sustained bell ringing, a tip-off to the meditative journey of the upcoming album. The calm of the bells anticipates the sudden onset of one of the best tracks on the album, “Talk to God”  where Goat’s upbeat and hypnotic blend of world music styles is showcased excellently. Droning, looping guitars draw the listener in while the driving collection of percussion propel the song forward. Distant vocals enter the mix between the looping guitar, occupying some middle ground between yelling and singing, the exact lyrics of which are hard to make out. The bonfire drum circle spirit ritual continues on for six minutes and 39 seconds, a time which may be discouraging to some listeners, but I found myself not wanting the trance to end.

The album continues with Goat’s upbeat world rhythms, psychedelic fuzzy guitar, and new wave yelling reminiscent of a tribal The B-52s. Songs like “Words” “To Travel the Path Unknown” and “Bondye” make extensive use of hypnotically looping flutter echoed guitar. The repetitive phrasing present throughout the album, when used tastefully can entrance a listener, something this band does well. There are however some times when the album does seem to drag on, and the spiritual spoken word interludes were not appealing to this listener. They fit the general “vibe” of the album, but they seem a little cheesy and don’t really add anything to the album. That said the album does have very strong moments in songs like the previously mentioned “Talk to God” the hard driving “Goat Slaves” and the indian flavored “Hide From the Sun.” With Commune Goat mixes various world traditions into a fuzzy trance-rock soup over crazed drums that may not blow every listener’s mind, but creates a wonderful atmosphere and groove.

7/10

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