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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

(the) Holy Goats - s/t

Name: The Holy Goats
Album: s/t
Year: 2002
Style: Jam Blues Rock
Similar Bands: Black Crows, Rolling Stones, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Led Zeppelin
"One-Word" Review: Americana-hippie-drug-jam
Based Out Of: Somerset, NJ
Label: Frontal Groovity Recordings
Holy Goats - Cover, inside, back
Holy Goats - Liner Notes, CD
Holy Goats (2002)
  1. On Your Knees 3:04
  2. Presence of Mind 5:12
  3. Keep It Rollin 4:19
  4. If I Could Speak My Mind 5:27
  5. Nothing To Lose 3:29
  6. I'm Still Missing You 6:43
  7. Satisfied 4:11
  8. Stray Cat Blues 5:23
  9. Clear 4:02
  10. Rock N' Roll Thru My Head 5:08
  11. Same Old Line 4:59
  12. See The Light 3:33
Album Rating (1-10): 5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Todd McCullough - Producer, Lead Vox, Guitar, Harp
Kurt Reil - Producer, Recorded, Engineered, Layout
Rick Reil - Producer, Recorded, Engineered
Deek Mason - Lead Guitar, Vox
Michelle Eckert - Bass, Vox (Angelica, Nektar)
Steve Crawley - Drums
Kristin Pinell - Recorded & Engineered
Chris Fuckin' Athens - Mastering
Andy Burton - Piano
Kelli Pachuta - Logo Artowrk
Janet Mason - Color Photos
Kimberlee Thompson - Live Photos

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. I got the CD from the friend with the extra CD’s he did not want anymore, and thought I’d like them. As for this one, it looks shoddy. The cover logo is ok, but it looks like the packaging was put together on a word document. The textured background under the font looks amateurish to say the least. The inner liner notes look like they are from the early 90’s when indie bands could barely put together a few bucks to design a CD, and nothing was known about how to do it. The band itself looks like a mix of hippie and country, which I must add is probably the worst possible mixing of genres I can imagine: extra long jamming country songs. I hope this does not waste another hour of my life too badly.

Album Review: So these guys are an Allentown/NJ area favorite, at least they were earlier this decade. Now the band still tours, but only the singer remains. The record starts with a jamming guitar and a rolling bass in “On Your Knees.” The vocals hearken back to 70’s drug rock. I read a comparison to Black Crows, and I can hear that in the music and vocal style. It fully rocks out with lead guitar solos and never rests. “Presence of Mind” takes an acoustic break. The vocals soar and fall, showing his range and the back up vocals bring a country edge to the music too. This style of music, even though it is done well, with slide guitar and steady, drudging pace, bores the hell out of me. There is no real hook; it feels like it is all verse and instrumental bridge after bridge. “Keep It Rollin” is a bluesy pub band song that kinda feels like a cargo train traveling across country. The pace picks up a bit as the vocals are introduced, and it shifts into second gear. I’m not a fan of the verse vocals that don’t really fit in with the music, they just roll along at their own pace, not guided by the music, and the tone shifts do not always make sense. The chorus is repetitive and flows with the momentum. A lot of the lead guitar makes it feel like a train as well. “If I Could Speak My Mind” is another country bluesy stomp, slower this time, but just as meandering. The guitar parallels and compliments the vocals after they sing the title verse as the chorus like it is a call and response with a guitar. “Nothing To Lose” is a higher emotional shrieking song that is upbeat, as opposed to “Speak My Mind.” It is full of the bluesy guitar work that is consistent with the rest of the album. It is repetitive and relies on the musical aspect rather than the vocals. “I'm Still Missing You” is an acoustic ballad with bongo percussion. It jams along with some wah-wah guitar work and just keeps going with section after section of musical wanderings.

“Satisfied” starts with a Monkee’s “Clarksville” like guitar, and is followed with Led Zeppelin like vocals. The backing harmonies are better and more interesting than the lead vocals, though. It is a bluesy and anthemic song. Like the title suggests, “Stray Cat Blues” evokes that exact kind of strutting image, but it is less on the blues side than the other tracks. At times it reminds me of “Sweet Home Alabama.” The song uses the stray cat as a metaphor for whomever he is talking about. But the metaphor feels generally lame. And like most of the rest of the album I’ve tired of it quickly. “Clear” begins with an eight note hook, and it evolves into something darker, with the guitar basically sounding like the Beatles’ “I Want You.” The lead guitar takes away from the song’s melody, with its distracting wail. The song is good, until it reaches the chorus, and it feels unplanned and rushed, basically out of character from the rest of the song. The song ends with dual guitars playing through the original 8 note hook. “Rock N' Roll Thru My Head” starts out with generic but good rock guitar work and supportive drums and bass. This is a very Black Crows song musically and vocally. “Same Old Line” presents nothing new. It is a staggering rhythm and bluesy 70’s care-free rock song. It is a little more disjointed than most. It limps along at an off-setting pace. It evens out with the pointless, seemingly never to end guitar solo. But it finally does finish, and a quick paced “See The Light” finishes the album with a cringe worthy harmony of vocals, which sound slightly off to my novice ear. But it could just be that it sounds too country for me to enjoy. The song does chug along at a steady fast pace, and his Chris Robinson vocals don’t let down. If you like that sort of style. Which I don’t.

Stand Out Track: Clear


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