John MOuse – The Goat: Album Review

Out digitally for a few months, John MOuse now releases The Goat in physical form!

Release date: Physical release October 30th / Released digitally via Bandcamp on July 31st.

Label: Keep Me In Your Heart Records

Format: 12” Ltd Edition Coloured Vinyl / CD / DL

Lockdown brought all manner of developments, alongside a useful reduction of COVID cases. Experimental beards and wild barnets ruled Zoom. Their owners and growers sat trouserless in online business meetings, whether their mantra for the day was ‘can’t be arsed’ or ‘shits and giggles’. The Internet ruled and existential crises ruled the Internet.

Into this world of weird, from his observatory on Planet Cardiff, peered a man named MOuse and he decided that the world he witnessed just wasn’t quite absurd enough. What these beings surely needed was a song a week to help them deal with the gradual onset of their caged stir-craziness. And so The Goat began in its genesis. It’s been available since July digitally, but it’s now released on CD and vinyl, with an accompanying video for A Well-Planned Party.

The songs (like many a fine sausage) began in Lincolnshire, with Phil Pearce, who would compose the music and then beam them up to Cardiff for MOuse to compose the lyrics and work out the vocal melody. Fitting for such an offering of cosmic salvation, the tracks thrum with ‘beep’ ‘buzz’ and ‘ping’, the swift, jagged synth beat by which the whole craft is powered. In terms of what Captain MOuse is shouting from the prow, the lyrics can be generally inferred from this representative list: “Hallway pigeon siege, accidentally pierced eardrum, painful neighbour small-talk, Betamax videos, post-vasectomy op visit, Back To The Future recreated in LEGO and Ann Summers party avoidance cringe.” 

The Goat feels less of a Roger Federer-style ‘Greatest of All Time’ acronym and more of a capricious Bill Hicks ‘Goat Boy’ reference. We’re plunged into a world that feels theatrical, but the sort of theatre that’s designed to make you chew on the arm of the seat while you watch it, or laugh out of sheer relief that it hasn’t happened to you. You hear lines that feel like they’re from Joe Orton farces, from Alan Bennett talking heads and Dylan Thomas’ Llareggub dwellers. The track Kerplunk Sticks sounds like a Pinter monologue about drunken, unwanted visitors and parental fragility (not unusual in Pinter’s work) and cutlery abuse (less frequent in his oeuvre).

The beautiful banality of Le Pigeon takes inspiration directly from a work by German writer, Patrick Suskind. The Raven Argonette feels like the words of early Iain Banks narrated to the keyboard sounds of John Shuttleworth (“I took him to the stream. I made him drink from the stream. I pointed out the rotting sheep”). The contrast is delicious. Buy-To-Let Industry Expert sounds like a boasting John Betjeman character rebooted for the 21st Century.

We’re told so many tall tales by the lunatics who have taken over the asylum in 2020 that we’re blatantly living in a ‘post-truth’ world. The truth probably isn’t even out there any more as a single entity, either that or our ability to spot it atrophies the longer we sit on our unclad arses and stare at our own styling misjudgements in the small box at the corner of our chosen video chat platform. It’s too easy to become a meek sheep. John MOuse gives us every reason to want to play the goat – capricious, fearless, whimsical.

Listen to A Well-Planned Party here:

John MOuse online: Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

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