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.






'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.


Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.


3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".


'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.


Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.


Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.


Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.


Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.


A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

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.