I once stalked Death Cab for Cutieâ€™s guitarist through Mesa, Ariz. It was the peak of my obsession with the band that I worshipped during my high school years.
While the Mountain Goatsâ€™ rise was before my time, it isnâ€™t lost on me that they were a band to cling to, a band to soundtrack adolescence. Thereâ€™s a good chance I would have stalked John Darnielle through Mesa if I had been born in the beginning of the 1980s instead of the end.
My fascination with DCFC died a few years ago. I blame them for making bad music. Others would say that the band and I simply grew apart. Itâ€™s a story that many of my friends echo regarding the group they idolized.
The Mountain Goats, however, have grown with their audience. While contributors come and go and the sonics and writing material change, the essence of the band has always remained.
John Darnielleâ€™s songwriting â€“â€“ specifically his lyricism â€“â€“ is the nucleus of every song. His content has changed over the Mountain Goatsâ€™ 20 years of activity, but the quality of his writing is always among the best.
On Estate Sale Sign, â€œAll Eternals Deckâ€™sâ€ most forceful track, Darnielleâ€™s voice cracks, â€œHigh above the water, the eagle spots the fish. Every martyr in this jungle is gonna get his wish.â€ Lines like this, which are everywhere on the album, show how effective a writer Darnielle is.
As with all Mountain Goats material, the album is somewhat inaccessible. There arenâ€™t many choruses and the sounds arenâ€™t â€˜dynamicâ€™ by anyoneâ€™s standard.
It takes a big chunk of your attention to juice the songs of their reward, but thatâ€™s what the Mountain Goats have been doing for years. This album simply proves theyâ€™re as good at it in 2011 as they were in 1991.
Nic Turiciano canâ€™t hear you because his headphones are too loud. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.