El Goodo: Coyote

The Welsh five-piece releases an album filled with summery psychedelic harmonies and spaghetti Western rhythms: a match made in vintage heaven.

El Goodo


Label: Grease
US Release Date: 2009-01-13
UK Release Date: Available as import

Hazy, psychedelic British pop meets Western honky-tonk in the darkly rich Coyote. El Goodo, a five-piece of multi-instrumentalists (Pixy, Jason, Lewie, Matty and Elliott) from South Wales, recreates sounds from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and surf pop, adding a sinister and foreboding urgency underneath the songs. The cowboy bass-lines and giddy-up drumming of such songs as "I Saw Her Today" collide with minor chord progressions and ghostly falsetto vocal harmonies for a brilliant mix. The Super Furry Animals, whose Cian Ciaran mixed the record, plucked them from their countryside home to serve as opening band on several UK tours in 2005, but now El Goodo are hitting their moment.

The driving force behind the initial track, "Feel So Fine", envelops the listener in a trance with its penetrating cadence and mysterious feedback. The layering of male falsetto voices builds in intensity as the song progresses, with each refrain more and more fervent and emphatic.

Some of the sounds on the album feel directly lifted from 1960s and 1970s stoner rock and British psychedelic pop. In this way, the album seems to span several iconic moments in psychedelic rock. "Be My Girl" has a similar swagger to the Who's "Magic Bus", while maintaining a punk rock delivery. "Pete" is just like the Ringo-penned "Octopus' Garden". On that song, spoken words with a thick, intercom-processed British accent lie above sousaphone-stained beats and bubbling synthesizers. Some of the borrowed sound bytes are nods to current music, like the "ooga chakka" in "Talking to the Birds", perhaps lifted from David Hasselhoff's "Hooked on a Feeling". Incidentally, the most sonically pleasing moment in the album occurs later in "Talking to the Birds". A bass-line reminiscent of the Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville" propels the song's easy-going vibe. At one point the music slows to a drawn-out violin weeping against a plucking vocal technique and various angelic pitches of vocals. The voices and sliding guitar become one and the same, indivisible.

The album's vintage and frosty sound comes in part from instruments used during the 1960s. The haze of the instruments helps the album feel like a soundtrack to a forgotten Western movie, screened in an abandoned theater. Since the album was produced in a deserted theater, songs like the spaghetti-Western-like "I Saw Her Today" have an extra mystery about them. Strings and horns complete the soundscape. The organ floating atop the frenzy is a Vox Continental, introduced in 1962, built as a replacement for organs like the Hammond B3. The rest of the murky sounds come from a 1960s Ludwig psychedelic drum kit, a 1960s Hofner bass, and the same amp the Beatles used, a Vox AC30. The recording was also made on vintage gear, using analog tape.

The dirge-like "I Only Dream" finishes the album. Slow, martial drums, punctuated with a tambourine, support dissonant and vacuous wails and moans as the separate choruses of men and women obsessively proclaim, "I only dream of you". A prog rock mish-mashing of vocals, feedback, and processed electronics erupts into the end of the disc. A space of nothing sits for nine minutes before the "bonus track" begins: a fuzzy organ and distant vocals, a sampling of the harmonies used throughout the album, with "don't worry Marie" repeated over and over.





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.