ARTIST: The Mountain Goats
YEAR RELEASED: 2002
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: See America Right
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubtful
LINEUP: John Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Franklin Bruno
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After several lo-fi independent albums, John Darnielle releases a non-hissy major label record and finds a greater audience, and more collaborators.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It was a one-man band (with a couple of helpers) and a boom box that made the Mountain Goats early work. (I didn’t review it because they’re basically for super-fans and there’s a shit-ton) Here, his first 4AD album, he works with Peter Hughes as a collaborator and turns the singer-songwriter genre on its ear for all to hear.
Always known for his lyrics and song titles, he wows with “Game Shows Touch Our Lives”, “The House That Dripped Blood”, and “International Small Arms Traffic Blues” among other ditties of note. It’s a concept album about the Alpha Couple (a character study like most of Darnielle’s work). His wordplay and imagery bring the story to life, clearly, and is the end of the tale.
Darnielle’s songs and stories are an important part of the new folk, singer, storyteller movement, even if he doesn’t quite resonate with the public as a whole. This is a good album for the curious.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Before this, Darnielle released six full albums, six cassettes, 12 singles and EPs and other tracks in compilations.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A: Even if you’re not always a fan of the concept story-song, this, this is something to listen to.