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The Mountain Goats head to a difficult stretch


The Mountain Goats, "Goths"
  • The Mountain Goats, "Goths"
John Darnielle has two best-selling novels and two dozen albums under his belt, so he can steer his North Carolina-based band The Mountain Goats in any direction he pleases. But his decision, on Goths, to eliminate all guitars while adding orchestration, asks a lot of listeners. The last Mountain Goats full-length, Beat the Champ, was a concept album on professional wrestling, hence a lyrical leap. This new study of teen Goth culture returns to familiar Mountain Goats subjects, but the arrangements are startling. It’s not so much a problem of over-production as odd production — choirs and woodwinds show up in unexpected places, sometimes to great effect, other times at cross-purposes. Repeated listenings will turn certain tracks, like “Rain in Soho,” into quintessential Mountain Goats tunes. But this is a difficult stretch, which may be precisely what Darnielle hopes to accomplish.
File next to: John Vanderslice, The Decemberists

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