Band: The Mountain Goats
Album: All Eternals Deck
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Last week in my review of Heidi Spencer’s debut record Under Streetlight Glow, I spent a good deal of time talking about my love for all things John Darnielle. Unbeknownst to me, The Mountain Goats have a new record that came out the very same day. Makes sense, they’re playing here at The Vic tomorrow night. I should have known it wasn’t just a stroke of good fortune for me.
All Eternals Deck doesn’t play like the recent releases The Mountain Goats have put out. To use the word disjointed wouldn’t be precise, but it wouldn’t be wrong either. The album was recorded in separate sessions all in different cities. The idea was to keep things fresh and let each city inject itself into the songs.
I’m not sure if they were one hundred percent successful in the execution of that plan, but what came out of those sessions is a series of good songs lacking an interlaced theme or overall narrative.
And that’s just about the worst thing I can say about this release. Darnielle’s songwriting still comes through as brutally honest and confident. His voice, too nasally for some, is unchanged and glorious. The biggest difference between All Eternals Deck and other Mountain Goats offerings is the music.
I started up with The Mountain Goats at The Sunset Tree, and have stayed with them since. I think I can easily say that a few of these new tracks are the most rocking they’ve ever done. “Estate Sale Sign” and “Great Prowling Cain” are both good examples of this.
It’s a nice change, but not something I hope is permanent. The strength of The Mountain Goats is and will always be Darnielle’s voice and words. He is the Conor Oberst of every city except Omaha after all, constantly surrounding himself with different musicians. He’s the only true member of The Mountain Goats, and I appreciate everyone else’s hard work, but they could go away and The Mountain Goats would go on without a hitch.
Despite its couple faults, I really enjoy this record. There isn’t anything as good as “This Year” or “Lion’s Teeth,” but I wouldn’t expect there to be. If you’re a fan of the band, you’re gonna like this one. Probably more than Heretic Pride or The Life of the World To Come. If you’ve never listened to The Mountain Goats, don’t start here. Pick up Tallahassee or Sunset Tree and work your way up through the years. I think you’ll find that John Darnielle is a songwriter of the greatest talent.
- The Mountain Goats are based in Durham, North Carolina.
- Their album, All Eternals Deck, is now available on iTunes.
- The Mountain Goats take the stage tonight at The Vic with special guest Megafun. Tickets are $19 (plus fees).