Great Life

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Goat isn't a band, it's the name of an eclectic singer/songwriter/musician hailing from New York. His 1998 mildly funky debut for Columbia's Ruffhouse imprint, Great Life, features the artist winding through some post-disco romps laced with loops-a-plenty and sometimes strange, sometimes pallid soul vocals. Things kick off with a repetitive INXS vibe on the record's title cut, that, while sonically interesting, seems to go nowhere with it's indiscernible structure and densely static production. Something about the staid but glossy tone of Great Life and Goat's confusing vocal delivery force this disc into a strange holding pattern from which it cannot liberate itself. While there are some stylish grooves, they are generally in support of songs that just sit there. Making matters a little worse is Goat's limited half-spoken vocal range that's tragically punctuated with a hapless faux-soul falsetto that sounds more like goofy outtakes than a serious attempt at singing. At no point on Great Life does the singer prove he can hold a note, which is okay, but the problem is that he tries to do it way too frequently on songs like "Tenderness and Full Brutality." Goat is a talented, clever artist who seems unaware of his own limitations, and Great Life is the mixed testimony to the confusing music that these factors inevitably will contribute to.

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