THE MOUNTAIN GOATS From The Lake Trials gets 8.5/10

The Mountain Goats
From The Lake Trials
Joyful Noise


Joyful Noise Records’ “Almost Live” vinyl series involves the label inviting an artist into their office where they are asked to record a song on the spot that will be cut to lathe and pressed as a limited 7″. A quick and painless process that produces a collector’s item to boot.

During his time as The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle has been as comfortable in front of his Panasonic boombox as he has in a number studios around the world, so the Joyful Noise offices couldn’t have been a barrier to his creativity. Rumour has it that Darnielle skimmed through an old folder called “new lyrics 2011” and then wrote the song in the van on the way to the office. The result is From The Lake Trials.

Spying an out of tune piano in the studio meant that plans to record the song on guitar were quickly scrapped. Sad chords, a sedate beat being laid down with a Roland 808 and a pensive, at times almost spoken vocal give From The Lake Trials its cadence. Matt Douglas is brought in to provide a bright saxophone overdub that isn’t too far removed from the cutting room floor of a Joel Schumacher film.

The Mountain Goats toss off tunes that others would agonise over for years. From The Lake Trials deserves a greater audience, but is destined to remain a favourite collectable for fans. While the tune may sound like the modern version of the band, it’s production is old school Mountain Goats for sure.