Release Date: Aug 22, 2006
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
The few artists who get beyond their 10th album usually end up throwing in the kitchen sink as they flail around for new directions - but this fate hasn't befallen John Darnielle's Mountain Goats. On their umpteenth opus, the band's music sounds as sparse as ever, comparable only to that of Nick Drake or David Crosby. For long periods, the only instrumentation is a well-placed piano note or the hushed breath of a percussive stroke.
Two points, to begin with, that have become the de rigueur context when discussing the Mountain Goats. One: John Darnielle is a unique, novelistic, and exceedingly smart lyricist. Two: the records he makes now are of a different character than they once were. Happily, the second point – which can be traced back to Tallahassee in 2002, when he started recording for 4AD, inside a studio rather than into a cheap tape recorder, and when his songs began to shift from abstract to autobiographical – has hardly changed the first.