JESUS LIZARD - Goat LP (Albini/Weston remaster)
The Jesus Lizard's second album followed in the vein of the first with little immediate variation: loud, excellently produced by Steve Albini, plenty of space in the recording to emphasize the sheer force of McNeilly's drums and Sims' bass, and more besides. The little-remarked-upon ability of the rhythm section to kick out some ass-shaking jams spikes up such great numbers as "Nub," which almost predicts Rocket From the Crypt down to the gang-shout vocals, and the slower but no-less-compelling grind of "Rodeo in Joliet" (also one of the band's most inspired titles). Denison's guitar playing seemed a touch more focused at points here, the results almost suggesting such post-punk groove monsters as Gang of Four and even the Pop Group. There's a more evident melodic lead role for his work as well, as the just plain great riff that fires up "Mouth Breather" and his near-countryish twang on "Karpis" makes perfectly clear. Yow, meanwhile, steps ever more into his own persona, his lyrics now downright comprehensible and his singing levels a touch less doom- (and bass) heavy, if no less aggrieved. The staggered vocal overdubs on "Monkey Trick" are a standout, especially when Denison suddenly serves up another one of his surprisingly sweet passages as a bed. Other treats on the album include the opening "Here Comes Dudley" -- in context one of the more non-welcoming greetings around -- and the Morricone-tinged freakout of "Lady Shoes," assuming Morricone scored movies about doctors dealing with some freaky female patients. The whole album seems like a party in hell, not to mention demonstrative proof that there's still plenty of fun to be had with a basic rock lineup; it's all in the matter of how it's handled. -Ned Raggett
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