By Karen A. Mann. Despite my love of alcohol, I’ve never had a Long Island Iced Tea. Any drink with tequila, vodka, light rum, triple sec, and gin seems like a sure ticket to an evening full of regrets and a morning spent hating life. But if Cokegoat’s music really is evocative of that hodgepodge of a drink, then maybe I should reconsider and give it a try.By Karen A. Mann
|Artwork by Max Brown.|
Despite my love of alcohol, I’ve never had a Long Island Iced Tea. Any drink with tequila, vodka, light rum, triple sec, and gin seems like a sure ticket to an evening full of regrets and a morning spent hating life. But if Cokegoat’s music really is evocative of that hodgepodge of a drink, then maybe I should reconsider and give it a try.
Hailing from Chicago, Cokegoat really does claim on their Bandcamp page that their latest release, Drugs and Animals, is a “Long Island Iced Tea in a craft cocktail world.”
What that means in practice is that they’re going to throw a lot of disparate sounds at once -- from quiet melodies and sweet feminine vocals to chugging riffs and bellowing -- and it’s actually going to work. Channeling Isis, Neurosis and even The Jesus Lizard, Cokegoat’s music can be described as sludgy, progressive, doomy, discordant, harsh and lulling, all depending on what part of the song you happen to hear. Often it’s all these things at once.
But that metaphor also implies sloppiness and lack of imagination on the part of the band. Imagine a bartender wearily throwing his best bottom-shelf liquors together while thinking “I going to have to clean vomit off the bathroom floor before this night is over.” In that case, Cokegoat really is more like the craft cocktail, expertly prepared with small-batch bitters and micro-sourced ingredients.
You can hear this attention to detail in interplay between harshness and quiet on “Winter of Fear,” the album’s best song. The opening sweeps the listener along, like a river that’s going to crash through bleak sonic canyons, and laze through lush fields along the way. You can also hear it on the last song, “Kreator/Destroyer,” which begins with a lulling, ambient passage that quickly dives into urgent sludge, only to surface back into disjointed, dark ambience. The song grabs you and keeps plunging you involuntarily between cacophony and stillness.
This is the part of the review where I could make a quip about needing to go to the liquor store, but, really, the best way to experience Cokegoat is to crack open a beer, turn off the lights, and let this album’s soundscapes take control and carry you along with them.