Album Review: Puppy – “The Goat”
Having seen London based three piece Puppy live a couple of times, but only as a support act, it’s easy to forget how easily they convert fans of various genres with just a 30 minute stint on stage. With debut album The Goat, however, the reasons are about to become very clear indeed.
To look at, you’d think that vocalist/guitarist Jock Norton, bassist Will Michael and drummer Billy Howard would be found hanging around your local skate park rather than hammering out their own brand of modern pop rock, but that’s exactly what they’ve done with their first full-length effort, producing a genre-hopping amalgam of riffy crunch and blissful vocal harmonies. Lead track Black Hole tells you all you need to know about the band; imagine a Rivers Cuomo-fronted Faith No More delivering a Ghost-lite singalong. Yep, you’re going to enjoy this ride.
There are certain elements that pervade through each of the 12 tracks on The Goat, most notably a love of all things Seattle circa 1993, but there are also nods to Deftones and Helmet as much as there are Creeper and Asylums, amongst others. Vengeance, for example, is a speedy little number with a riff straight out of the Metallica playbook, but it’s coupled with an almost Wildhearts-y hook and Norton’s nasal yet endearing vocals, making it an entirely different beast to one you’d get from the San Fran legends.
And So I Burn is a Priest-esque scorcher, while Bathe In Blood brings back those Ghost comparisons in scintillating style, kicking in with some furious blasts from Howard before veering into a psychedelically hazy retro stunner. Live stalwart Entombed is re-recorded here and emerges with an ominous Korn throb before breaking into a grungey, almost Stone Temple Pilots chorus, whilst I Feel An Evil‘s rapid fire Foo Fighters delivery is perhaps the poppiest number here, but it’s still backed by a furious guitar and drum assault midway through.
It’s these little twists that keep interest high throughout The Goat. Puppy could so easily have just written an album of three-minute mundane rock songs, but instead they’ve taken traits from their influences that others have been too scared to fuse, and produced something that is as much a homage as it is ground-breaking.
Kicking off 2019 with a bang, Puppy have delivered on their promise with an instantly likable collection of hummable hits. Tearing up the rulebook, the band prove that image isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all, drawing on decades of influences to produce a fascinating fusion that shouldn't really work but ends up being the freshest thing you'll perhaps hear all year.