Year of the Album — #018
The Mountain Goats – “All Eternals Deck” (2011, Merge Records)
Whether with a band or as a solo musician, John Darnielle has been building his name as one of the best living lyricists not named Dylan, album after consistent album. And 2011’s All Eternals Deck doesn’t break that pattern, proving to be an adventurous and addictive listen from start to finish.
Darnielle’s vocals remind me of a blend of They Might Be Giants and R.E.M., but his music with Mountain Goats never really fits into such an easy descriptive box. All Eternals Deck builds on the religious imagery of 2009’s The Life of the World to Come, which was something of a concept album inspired by specific verses of the Christian Bible. All Eternals Deck, its title derived from a fictional set of tarot cards described in the liner notes, takes on a more pagan angle, as evidenced by the album’s first track, “Damn These Vampires,” and “High Hawk Season,” which almost sounds like a western-noir spiritual.
In the end, the Mountain Goats stand here in 2011 ushering in the year with an album which dares to preach the word of musical invigoration, creativity and depth. Those who listen to the album are almost certain to instantly spread the word about the quality within.
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