Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Co-produced by John Vanderslice, the typically opaque lyrics by John Darnielle are given space and clarity so as to bewilder and bemuse you by turns. Not many people write songs with titles like Sax Rohmer #1, How to Embrace a Swamp Creature, Marduk T-Shirt Men's Room Incident and Michael Myers Resplendent.
But here augmented by some discreetly dramatic strings and the small band, and with some of the most simple but delightful melodies he has ever written, Darnielle takes you along for a tumbling ride fullof unexpected swerves ("I feel so proud to be alive . . I feel so proud when the Reckoning arrives" is quite some emotional leap in the urgent and cheerfully apocalyptic title track).
He seems (as usual) to be a bit down on himself (on Autoclave says "no one in their right mind would make my home their home" as he catalogues his shortcoming) so you don't come here for knee-slapping humour -- although the journey is such a lyrically strange one that it is bound to raise a smile or two.
There is a desperation in his delivery too which can be quite gripping, although some of his finest moments come when he leans back a little: Is that a touch of reggae in New Zion?
He also makers a natty musical references the Cure in the opener.
The track Sept 15 1983 is, in part, about a graffiti writer beaten to death by New York cops. I think.
If you haven't picked up on Darnielle/Mountain Goats this is a fine place to start: it sounds great and it is lyrically dense (sometimes dark) but rewarding.