Sometimes being an ardent rock fan can be a suffocating experience. With so many genre tentacles of the beast twisting and mutating, often spawning a million faceless clones, or worse bands exhibiting, frequently misguided attempts to be “different”, it’s easy to get sucked into the mire of mediocrity. With that in mind it’s refreshing when a band comes along that dispenses with the bullshit and gets down to the business of just being an exceptional rock and roll band regardless of genre, regardless of trying to be innovative and regardless of trends. Goat Leaf are one such band.
My first encounter with these guys was via the “Sonic Titans” compilation on Stargun Music in 2012. Their track was a real highlight for me so it was with baited breath that I hit play on this new release. Damn, this shit just cuts right to the essence of why I started listening to rock and roll over 30 years ago as it blasts through 10 songs of straight up, groove driven, dirty hard rock that is as timeless as it is brimming with energy and killer hooks.
Right from the off the title track lays down a big assed groove before “Moot Point” guns the throttle and takes your arse for a severe beating. On “Love Under Will” Goat Leaf pull things back to a lazy, bluesy swing. And so the album progresses from one expertly hewn nugget of classic rock and roll to the next. They evoke the bluesy swagger of the finest 70’s rock band whilst adding a touch of Blue Cheer’s and MC5’s raucous garage rock, some of the Stones’ loose grooves, punk rock’s snarl and some of stoner rock’s fuzzier tendencies. As I said, this is timeless classic hard rock from a band that seem uninterested in breaking new ground but at the same time keen to explore any idea as long as it’s good and take it to the peak of its potential.
One other thing that strikes the listener about this release is how the band sounds like a true unit. No one musician is vying for attention, including the vocals. The overall impression is that the song is the key focus here for all concerned which does make for a tight, composition driven piece of work. Even guitar solos are kept to the point and work within the context of the song and not as some random act of public masturbation. This sense of unity extends to the overall production which is sparse and relatively free from overdubs. Clearly these songs are written with one guitar and designed to work as such in a live setting so why fuck with that in the studio. Obviously with a superb, rich tone as John Hodgson manages to wring from his Strat this is made all the easier!
With such a wealth of classic tones drawing from the whole history of hard rock it’s difficult to see this album not having an appeal to everyone with any regard for the heavier end of rock and roll from the thrashers to the doomsters to the punks and all points in between. There is nothing here not to love…everyone loves a good time and right here is the perfect soundtrack so buy it, invite some mates round, bust open a few brews and lose your shit kids!
Label: Sea Of Green Music
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall