Put yourself in the place of Skint Records. The music that people identify you with is now deeply unfashionable and your biggest signing Fatboy Slim hasn't made a decent record in years. What do you do?
Simple, you head to Belgium and sign a band that's named after a bird that honks. That's the only logical reason why Skint signed Goose and is releasing the new Goose album Bring It On. And it's good job it did, too, because Bring It On by Goose is a dirty great hunk of filthy electro sleazerock that we didn't even think Belgians were capable of.
There's a lot of talk about Nu-Rave about at the moment – a movement that seems to us to be an excuse for a) some 35-year-old early nineties rave DJs to give up their window cleaning jobs, cobble a quick tour together and slap their name on any old crummy 3CD dance music compilation that passes their way and b) the NME to quickly come up with a spurious name for a scene and lump in any band that doesn't sound like it lives in 1977.
Some people will try telling you that Bring It On by Goose is a Nu-Rave album, but if they do you should happyslap them as fast as you can. Yes, Bring It On by Goose is a dance record by an instrument-playing band, but then again you could say the same about The Rapture, LCD Soundsystems, !!! and all manner of DFA-produced acts, and they've all about as Nu-Rave as your granny's elbow. Good albums should be able to stand up by themselves independently of magazine-invented scenes, and we're pleased to say that Bring It On by Goose just about manages to do this.
If Bring It On by Goose is dance music, then it's a very masculine kind of dance music. There's no disco strings or soulful vocals here – for the main part, this album is the sound of a particularly spiteful headache, meaning it'll inspire about as much moshing as body-popping. First single Black Gloves has been out for a while now, and why it's yet to be picked up for a TV commercial for alcopops is beyond us. It's catchy, it's repetitive and it sounds like an army of robots trying to beat your front door now. Black Gloves is also the first song on Bring It On and, as an attention-grabber, it can't really be faulted. Goose, you see, play indie music, but indie music that's been written like dance music, complete with the sort of build-ups and breakdowns that guarantees frantic dancefloor action, and they've got this down to a fine art.
Coming in swiftly on the heels of Black Gloves on Bring It On by Goose is British Mode, which sounds a lot like the stuff Radio 4 was doing three years ago so, logically, it sounds a bit like a bleepier version of Public Image. Other Bring It On highlights include Check – a Duplo-simple motoric hammering that sounds all the better for its lack of ambition, 34T – a bass-heavy lump of sleaze that sounds exactly what we wanted the new Kasabian album to sound like, and Audience – which sounds like a broken Spectrum playing something people used to call Electroclash.
So that's the, ahem, bangers out of the way, and Bring It On by Goose would be a phenomenal album if it just included those. But it doesn't, and occasionally Goose come over a bit Depeche Mode and attempt an icy-cool mid-tempo electro stance that sits so awkwardly with the goonish larking around of the rest of the album that it wedges a dirty great spanner in any momentum Goose had been building up, like the host of a party stopping things to straighten their tablecloths, Girl and Bring It On Down being two particularly duff moments.
Bring It On by Goose is a sporadically great album then, but it'll be interesting to see if Goose can make this work any better a second time around.
[story by Stuart Heritage]