The Jesus Lizard - Goat (Cover Artwork)

The Jesus Lizard

Goat (1991)

Touch and Go

How do you introduce the Jesus Lizard? The closest anaolgy to listening to their music is being punched in the face and then having the bruise licked by a drunken preacher who screams at you while speaking in tounges. The Jesus Lizard existed in the strange period after the first big wave of hardcore had receded and the shambling behemoth that was 'alternative rock' began to rise up and slay hair bands left and right. The Jesus Lizard never rose to the heights of their contemporaries (despite issuing a split 7" with Nirvana) but they left behind a few amazing records and a fair amount of influence. Listen to some Jesus Lizard and then check out Converge's latest record to hear a clear modern descendant.

Goat, a quick nine songs in thirty minutes, is a tour de force of brutality, angularity and fierce insanity. It stands easily as their best work, not to mention possibly the single greatest piece of Steve Albini engineering ever committed to tape. Each instrument is recorded in beautiful clarity despite the guitar tones being as sharp and angular, the bass as rusty and mean and the drums being beaten like unwanted stepchildren. David Yow's voice, low in the mix, sounds like a madman screaming over the sound of the demons in his head. Together, they make scary music. Songs that make you want to drink whiskey and fight ghosts.

From the violent, angular swagger of "Then Comes Dudley," to the utterly mind-blowing interplay of the driving guitar and syncopated drums on "Mouth Breather," to the full speed ahead beatdown of "Nub," the drunken brawl that is "Sea Sick," the sheer dynamic explosion of "Monkey Trick," the weird cowboys on bad acid of "Karpis," the swimming breakdowns on "South Mouth," the ferosity of "Lady Shoes," the sweaty bad dream of "Rodeo In Joliet"...

Goat is a rare, perfect album. It is one of those records that jjust can't be played quietly. The sheer joy of blasting them in the car in the summer, or when you just need to blow off some steam. Goat is a winner every time, that friend that you love to be around but secretly scares the shit out of you. The Jesus Lizard had all the heavy that counts.