The latest missive from the Mountain Goats is about the
occult, but before you allow that to conjure visions of leader John Darnielle
crooning love songs to Baal, remember that “occult” also means “not obvious on
inspection but discoverable by experimentation.” For Darnielle, that means the
discomfort that comes with lack of immediate understanding and the knowledge
that you have to engage before enlightenment.
The Goats set emotional unease to driving acoustic rock,
lush pop, dynamic piano rock and Darnielle’s standard folk/pop (notably “High
Hawk Season,” which features male backup singers a la the Jordanaires). What sets Darnielle apart from other
misery-mongers is both his superior sense of songcraft and his conviction that
all will be well – or at least better – if you work through things. It takes a
special kind of artist to make anxiety so appealing, dispelling the cloud of
mystery with song.
DOWNLOAD: “Age of Kings,” “For Charles Bronson” MICHAEL TOLAND