Goblin Cock - _Come With Me If You Want to Live_
(Robcore Records, 2009)
by: Noel Oxford (6 out of 10)
Goblin Cock is what you get when you cross a supernova ego with a wilfully ironic, self-consciously wacky sense of humour, and then splice the result with an apparently inhuman level of energy and access to a time machine. Less a frontman, Rob Crow is more like the eye of a musical tornado, descending upon the land, agglomerating other musicians and projects in the whirling vortex surrounding him, and leaving a trail of broken dreams in his wake. Goblin Cock is just the stoner/doom wing of his vast, evil, musical fortress, a sprawling edifice squatting beneath a dormant volcano of indie and math rock. Best estimates put the number of bands he currently plays in or leads at somewhere around 320, not to mention the five solo records he has released since 1995. It leads me to wonder, is it because he's spread so thinly that he teeters continually on the brink of mediocrity?

The more I listen to _Come With Me If You Want to Live_, the less I want to recommend it. It surely has a few great moments, from the elastic hook of "Loch" to the pounding off-beat chant of lead single "We Got a Bleeder", or the droning, pistoning in-and-out pulse of "Tom's Song". Meanwhile, the record's overall sound is unquestionably appealing, dense with blunted guitars and heavy bass, and entwined with Crow's high-register, sweetly harmonised vocals, reminiscent at times of Perry Farrell.

Yet between concept and execution, something has gone quite drastically wrong. Songs seem to just spring from nothing, winding along a path mandated by a scant handful of, admittedly, consistently good ideas, before lurching to a dead stop a couple of minutes later. The sole exception to this template is "Haint", a ponderously muted soft rock dirge which, in its defence, boasts some pretty harmonising toward the end of its four-minute length. "Mylar", meanwhile, initially manages to distinguish itself by virtue of its busy, uptempo groove, yet instantly corrals that momentum in an interminable circular wind-down that ultimately sounds like a walkman draining its batteries.

Then there's the 'sense of humour', lest we forget. As Wikipedia helpfully points out, the band's name could be considered a double entendre! They write lyrics about Sesame Street and willies! Each of the personnel has adopted a hilarious pseudonym! Do your sides not split, fellow metalhead, at such witty monikers as 'Lord Phallus' or 'Bane Ass-Pounder'? Do you not feel fortunate, nay blessed, neophyte traveller of these scorched musical wastes, to bear witness to such imaginative power? And yet, Goblin Cock insist they are not a joke band.

The thing is, I want to like them, and I want to like this record. There's a level of craft and musicianship here that bespeaks enormous potential, but the occasional flashes of inspiration one glimpses almost immediately get drowned out by the sound of an idea reaching its breaking point. It makes you wonder what we might have got if Crow had only narrowed his focus a little more. Instead, you're left with the suspicion that the sum total of his writing process is slapping down the first thing he thinks of, before hurrying on to one of the other billion or so projects he's got simmering away on the backburner.

Irrespective of any griping, your first listen to _Come With Me..._ will probably be a pleasant one, and if you stopped there, you might even think I've just spent 600 words talking out of my arse, but it's not until you start to try and dig deeper that you realise there's a worrying lack of satisfaction to be found in Goblin Cock.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/goblincock

(article published 16/8/2009)

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