Monday, February 25, 2008
Feature Album Review - The Mountain Goats: Heretic Pride
Everyone has songs or musicians which remind them of a certain time or event in their lives. One of those such musicians for me is John Darnielle. It’s difficult for me to listen to a Mountain Goats album without remembering what it felt like to be 17 and sitting in art class but I won’t hold that against him.
Darnielle has been writing under The Mountain Goats title since 1991. His distinctive vocal approach and left of centre writing style have ensured his music has remained fresh and un-stagnated even after all this time.
There is something so unique about listening to a Mountain Goats album. For starters Darnielle’s subject matter switches back and forth between personal experience and the imaginary scenarios of his ‘characters’. You’re never quite sure what you’re in for until the proverbial needle hit’s the record.
His latest effort, Heretic Pride, has left behind any autobiographical strains he may have been toying with in records past and returns to fictitious romps through the messed up lives of the masses.
The mix of literary and musical complexities are unsurprisingly seamless in nature, creating a whole and well structured world in which to get lost in. A trait which is really not all that unusual for Darnielle’s work as almost all albums to his name have a ‘conceptual’ air to them.
It seems almost wrong to choose favourite tracks from such a complete album but if I had to then it would be hard to go past the incredible opener, ‘Sax Rohmer #1’ as well as ‘Autoclave’, ‘How To Embrace A Swamp Creature’ and of course the memorable title track, ‘Heretic Pride’. All of which are proof positive of Darnielle’s abilities as a song writer.
If you’re new to The Mountain Goats then this isn’t a bad time in which to become acquainted. Heretic Pride is a gorgeously intricate album. One which is bound to draw you in and make you determined to catch up on all you’ve missed until this very point.