13 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Twelve tracks based on Bible verses might sound like the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle has gotten himself into an ambitious creative writing exercise, but Darnielle’s always had fun using quotes and inspirations from the most unusual places to twist his own tales of life, love and the questions in between. With Jon Wurster on drums, pounding in quiet frustration, Darnielle spits out the muted, dark menace of the opening track, “1 Samuel 15:23” and builds the tension on the follow-up, “Psalms 40:2,” where his voice gains in anxiety and unrest, quavering as the electronics around him overheat. “Genesis 3:23” follows Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, or at least Darnielle from an old apartment, in upbeat fashion as the storm clouds of the previous tracks subside. Songs visit the church, but just as likely end up in the hospital. “Matthew 25:21” features a truck crash, a plane crash and a round of cancer in just under six minutes. The closing track, “Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace” rides with a murderer on his way to Mexico in the rain. Dark times, indeed.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Twelve tracks based on Bible verses might sound like the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle has gotten himself into an ambitious creative writing exercise, but Darnielle’s always had fun using quotes and inspirations from the most unusual places to twist his own tales of life, love and the questions in between. With Jon Wurster on drums, pounding in quiet frustration, Darnielle spits out the muted, dark menace of the opening track, “1 Samuel 15:23” and builds the tension on the follow-up, “Psalms 40:2,” where his voice gains in anxiety and unrest, quavering as the electronics around him overheat. “Genesis 3:23” follows Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, or at least Darnielle from an old apartment, in upbeat fashion as the storm clouds of the previous tracks subside. Songs visit the church, but just as likely end up in the hospital. “Matthew 25:21” features a truck crash, a plane crash and a round of cancer in just under six minutes. The closing track, “Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace” rides with a murderer on his way to Mexico in the rain. Dark times, indeed.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
76 Ratings

76 Ratings

DThies ,

Give John Darnielle all of your money

Because the man makes great music

bwithhcuts ,

also

i dont know why you cant stomach the message. if you think this is a 100% or even a 25% pro bible album, then you didnt do anything but look at the titles... and then decided to quote a negative verse that has nothing to do with the music or anything else here.

Sir Asher Reginald Wycoff III, Esquire ,

It is what it is.

The biggest mistake you could make with a Mountain Goats album (and the one that most negative reviewers seem to be making) is to have specific expectations going in. When you listen, which you should, you will need to just go along with what John Darnielle's doing. Don't expect much of the furious anxiety that characterized We Shall All Be Healed. Don't expect as tightly-woven a concept album as Tallahassee or The Sunset Tree. Most importantly, don't expect a whole lot of religious commentary. Bible verses are used mainly as jumping-off points.
What you can expect, though, is the same masterful marriage of brilliant lyrics and effective melodies that Darnielle has been delivering for the past fifteen years. Listen and enjoy it for what it is.

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