The Mountain Goats: Goths (Merge) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #60 - Father John Misty



May 18, 2017 Issue #60 - Father John Misty Bookmark and Share

Given John Darnielle’s love of death metal, we knew Goths day would come. What we didn’t expect is the canvas to be so pop-forward. Goths is vivid and light on its toes, as it runs the gamut of various “goth” personalities both historical and fictional, showcasing one of Darnielle’s greatest carnal sinshis ability to glean color from unexpected places. Darnielle spins resonating tales over his nasally tiradewhich is as bold and unexpected as ever, like he’s bench-pressing with his bare throat everyone that has ever done anything to harm him.

“Rain in Soho” opens the album with relentless chanting from a barbershop quartet jamming with the baritone section of choir. They bumble and intertwine in a glorious macrame. It’s astoundingly catchythe monks and barbers are a charmingly ominous stew, and are probably motivating enough to play in the warm-up of a spin class. From this fantastic start, Goths just gets better.

“The Grey King and the Silver Flame Attunement” meshes rumbling low-tones with buoyant cascades as Darnielle insists, “I’m hardcore, but I’m not that hardcore.” “Unicorn Tolerance” discourses over the validity of a goth with a “high unicorn tolerance,” who feels “shame, real shame, for what my friends must think of me,” and trying with everything he has to “beat to death the soft creature that I used to be.”

“Shelved” is a menacing dance mounting slowly into a hard-hitting, momentous face-plant, “Ceremony”-esque synths blazing, drums pounding, Darnielle shouting from his guts as he personifies the fiction of a washed-up metal guitarist who faces that “the ride’s over” with striking conviction.

Goths culminates in the gospel-gowned “Wear Black,” when Darnielle heralds, “Wear black when it’s light outside, wear black when there’s no light,” amongst lofty choral salutations. Darnielle pokes at the various prerequisites for belonging to any group, whether fringe or otherwise. The deepest, most authentic self will never fit squarely into a box. And that’s why we love that John Darnielle loves death metal. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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