The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck – Track Reviews

1 Apr

An album featuring multi-faceted music that explores the elaborate construction of lyric and sound and makes the complex sound simple, melancholic, and eerily sweet. That is my one sentence review of the new Mountain Goats‘ release All Eternals Deck, which dropped two days ago. When I went to pick up the album at Barnes and Nobles, the salesman asked me how are the Mountain Goats. I have wrote so many gushing reviews of the band on this blog, that I attempted to prevent myself from overwhelming him. I told him, if you like great lyric, passion and folk, then you will enjoy John Darnielle and the Mountain Goats. All Eternals Deck is a classic recent Mountain Goats album mixed with some more complex instrumentation, vocalization and skill. Darnielle’s studio work has morphed to match his elaborate lexicon and syntax. I cannot keep my review to one sentence. So, instead, I am going to profile the music and lyric of some of my favorite songs on the album. Enjoy and go listen to the new album, NOW!

Music: The album opens with “Damn These Vampires,” a track that moves like a typical Mountain Goats release. The song is led by Darnielle’s voice. It features short chords from both the keyboard and acoustic, as well as a defined bass guitar that adds a deep element to the song. The best display of musicality in this song comes during the chorus, where the guitar and keyboard follow Darnielle’s progression with supporting notes. You can feel the band’s presence in this moment.

Lyrics: Darnielle often has small gems in his songs, lines that blend in and taste good. In “Damn These Vampires,” Darnielle sings, “Saphire trans-am, highbeams in vain. Drive wild broncos, down the plain.” His lyric paints pictures, and this advanced imagery proves his literary prowess.

Music: “High Hawk Season” is unconventional for the Mountain Goats. Darnielle adds this gloomy barbershop quartet sound that carries the song beautifully. The call-back with the line “rise if your sleeping stay awake” is spine-tingling. The song is carried by Darnielle’s acoustic and the backing vocals

Lyric: “Spray our dreams on any surface where the paint will stick, Try to time the rhythm, listen for the click.” The lyric is as saturnine as the dark backing vocals. This is where Darnielle seems most comfortable.

Music: “For Charles Bronson” is being quickly touted as the song’s best album. I can understand the praise. While it may not be my favorite – which is reserved for the two above – this song has the classic Mountain Goats charm. It is led by Darnielle’s great voice, a solid chord progression and a solid drum beat. The haunting keyboard is a great addition.

Lyric: I just want to leave you with the last verse/chorus of the song profiling Charles Bronson.

“Let the frame find you when the cameraman’s ready
Work until I drop drift from place to place
Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, scratched into my face
Set your sights on good fortune, concentrate
Pull back the hammer, try to hold the gun straight
Try to hold the gun straight”

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