By Jim Merrett
Welcome to Korpolombolo, twinned with the Kalakuta Republic. In this remote, possibly fictional village, forsaken in the depths of Sweden’s frozen north, something hot is fermenting. According to legend (or this here press release), the settlement is blighted by a many generations-old voodoo curse. And perhaps not entirely incidentally, it’s also home to rambunctious Afro-Kraut collective Goat.
Shrouded in mystery (as well as what appears to be face paints and loin cloths), the noise made by this outfit sits somewhere between the thick beats of Fela Kuti, the restless textures of Can and the tribal garage of The Slits (with a stray chord structure possibly lifted from Money Mark, but that’s another story). Triangulated, this makes for a heady brew.
The album opens with ‘Diarabi’, which toys with the listener, gently noodling until a barrage of fuzz and percussion clicks in. We’re just warming up. Early release ‘Goatman’ is more portentious, marrying powwow drums with the more effective sonic experiments of The Flaming Lips’ Embryonic and the hypnotic chants of Boredoms (of Yoshimi fame, no less).
Single ‘Goathead’, in fitting with the pagan Christian-goading narrative, finds the band in spiritual unison, ticking over like a single meat machine, a sloshing, squealing shard of grinding funk that finally collapses into tender embrace of acoustic guitar strings. Meanwhile, ‘Disco Fever’ creates a dance-floor stomp out of Doors-like organ swirls and intoxicating transcendentalism of Amorphous Androgynous.
Don’t worry: ‘Let it Bleed’ isn’t a cover of the Rolling Stones song of the same name, although the ashes-snorting Keef’s imprint runs through the album (this is where Money Mark comes in — it’s a dead ringer for ‘Hand in Your Head’). Prancing around the looping melody at its core, it builds to a thrashing punch-up between sax and vocals, paving the way for the ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’-like drums and hollers of ‘Run to Your Mama’. Which is to say that the theatrics, and the dress-up games, fail to detract from this exhilarating showcase, and in fact set the tone.
Once settled into its groove, World Music rarely lets up. And in the way it drags you along with it, there’s evidence that witchcraft might really be at work. The voodoo plot might just be fluff to give the PRs something to play with. But even if you take this album with a pinch of salt, the tang of juju lingers long on the taste buds. Drink it down.