The Best Albums of 2014, #18

band0118. Goat, Commune (SubPop)

The biggest test for any band that achieves some sort of crossover success with the indie crowd is to maintain that interest on the follow-up. I hate to bring up the word “novelty”, but a new band’s novelty appeal plays a huge role in attracting attention from the indie scenesters. It’s not because they’re looking for trite, it’s that they’re looking for something new. The majority of indie music fans have an insatiable appetite for new, interesting, adventurous music, and one of the great joys of being such an aficionado is discovering that one wildly original record that stands well apart from the rest. The strange Swedish collective Goat pulled that off in 2012 with their marvelous debut World Music, a spellbinding combination of heavy rock, krautrock, and afrobeat, and the much-anticipated follow-up attempts to expand on that idea while retaining that likeability of the debut. Although it’s not quite worthy of as high a placing on my list as World Music was, it fully deserves a top 20 nod because it does what it does extremely well. As familiar as this stuff is, this is one phenomenal psychedelic rock band, and the music here is a lot tighter, not to mention able to go further beyond the heavy jams into more sprawling, space rock territory. But of course, those chanted female vocals, African rhythms, and wah-wah pedal-enhanced guitars are as present as ever; just marvel at the mid-album one-two punch of “Goatchild” and “Goatslaves”. As long as that gimmick doesn’t become stale, they can keep on doing it, and Goat still sounds in peak form on album number two.