The Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats are bringing their signature lyrical storytelling back with their new album Goths. A self-confessed tribute to the 90’s goth sub-culture by a band that claim they are “gothic for life”, the album is nothing short of a loving gesture in appreciation of everything black hair, leather and lace, metal spikes, and pale skin. Not in the style that you would expect though.
The band have produced an album that has been intentionally written without the use of guitars, resulting in an album that is easy on the ears and purely enjoyable. A vast contrast to the theme of the album, sounding like a combination of Ben Folds, Elvis Costello and The Violent Femmes.
Darnielle paints a convincing portrait, as he has done on The Mountain Goats’ previous albums, and the band delivers a beautiful juxtaposition of themes.
Opening track Rain in Soho sets a brooding tone to begin the album, with choir vocals and a more aggressive rhythm, but this isn’t typical of the rest of the album.
First single Andrew Eldritch is Moving Back to Leeds is a tribute to The Sisters of Mercy frontman, pioneers of the modern aesthetic of the goth genre. It’s a jaunty number that has you picturing Andrew Eldritch striding smugly with his suitcase and backpack back to Leeds.
In The Grey King and the Silver Flame Attunement, Darnielle let us know that he’s “hardcore, but not that hardcore”. Some of his cleverer wordsmithery is featured in this song, really making you feel for him and his lack of being “hardcore”.
We Do It Different on the West Coast is an ode to the goth scene making its way to America. A gentle number laced with backing harmonies and soft keys. Wear Black brings mental pictures of gothic teenagers cruising the highways enjoying the Californian sunshine and coastal lifestyle. Two elements not traditionally associated with what one would imagine a goth teen to be up to.
A gentle, slightly nautical, piano driven track towards the end of the album, For the Portuguese Goth Metal Bands, shows the album’s true irony, and a final tribute to 80s British band Gene Loves Jezebel in Abandoned Flesh is a respectful nod to the work of the forgotten goth outfit.
Goths takes you on a journey from hanging out at the graveyard in your fishnet arm sleeves and Doc Martens, to stopping by Californian beach, and arrive back at home to reminisce about the times when you were listening to your goth records. They bring yet another album that shows a window into a time 90s teens will lovingly appreciate. An astonishing, but fitting and brilliant album in honour of a largely misunderstood sub-culture.