Goat Girl are an indie rock trio that consists of Lottie Pendlebury, Rosy Jones, and Holly Mullineaux. The group have had a couple of member changes since their first LP in 2018, which introduced the world to their ambitiously bluesy post-punk sound. However, there were quite a lot of underwhelming moments on this album, particularly the melodies that often fell flat. The band’s 2021 record, On All Fours, transformed their folky punk sound into an artier rock approach that relied heavily on synths to create these new wave dance-tunes. Unfortunately, this direction sounded much more watered down and less impactful than their debut.

After experimenting with their sound for so long, it is evident that Goat Girl’s third studio LP, Below the Waste, is where they found the sound that they have been looking for. This time we are offered a more fleshed out, psychedelic style. Having been disappointed with the inconsistency of their last couple of albums, I came into this being completely surprised with the improvements at hand; the loud, erratic moments are what really keep my engagement, with some innovative ideas being displayed elsewhere.

The album starts off unpredictably with ‘Reprise’ which is a short, atmospheric interlude that attempts to set the mood of the LP through the use of ambient noise and layered vocals. From there, the track flows into the intoxicating ‘Ride Around’ and ‘Words Fell Out’. The former takes hold of an industrial rock sound that features grungy guitars, and the latter has a more stripped back post-punk feel.

This project often focuses on working through addiction, with the band being very open about having written a couple of the tracks as a result of drummer Rosie Joneses own struggles with addiction and how they needed a lot of support at times. This can be seen through songs such as ‘Words Fell Out’, which features emotive lyrics, such as “I would speak to empty eyes, we’d converse a lot, tell each other what’s been going on” and the track ‘Tcnc’ being an acronym for ‘Take Care Not Crack’.

From there, we smoothly transition to ‘Where’s Ur <3’, which is where the album begins to go slightly downhill. The main issue with this project is how a large proportion of the tracks just seems to drag out, making the whole thing feel like a bit of a slog to get through. Sure, there is the odd gem such as ‘Tonight’, which is one of the more fragile cuts off the album, but at a certain point the slower tracks become a bit too tedious.

Overall, Below the Waste is Goat Girl’s most creative album, leaving behind the more guitar-forward sound they had gotten accustomed to and replacing it with a psychedelic pop feel. There are a few scrappy moments that results in the lack of one’s engagement, but it is very nice to see an improvement in production since the band’s last material, mostly as a result of John “Spud” Murphy taking the role of co-producer and mixing engineer, the same producer behind the sounds of black midi’s work. There is also a better execution of interludes that are scattered throughout the LP that feel like they actually create a type of atmosphere before swiftly moving into the next song. After refining their sound with this record, it would be very intriguing to see what they can provide with future releases.

Goat Girl: Below The Waste – Out 7th June 2024 (Rough Trade)

Girl – words fell out (Official Video) (youtube.com)