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All Eternals Deck by The Mountain Goats
This is The Mountain Goat's 13th record, a grand achievement for a band who don't just release any old rubbish*. It's been almost ten years since John Darnielle began to develop a full band sound on Tallahassee and this new release is certainly a continuation of that approach. This may be a bummer for those awaiting a return to the Lo-Fi sound that defined Darnielle's early recordings but here we have another example of the band's almost unparalleled consistency. This doesn't mean that All Eternals Deck is "samey" though, we get some fine examples of gorgeous sweeping strings ("Age Of Kings"), the humorously uplifting ("For Charles Bronson") and even barbershop harmonies ("High Hawk Season"). "Damn These Vampires" is a typically sparse start to the record where the gaps in the music are just as important as the infrequent guitar stabs and piano chords but things get more frantic on the impassioned "Estate Sale Sign" and "Prowl Great Cain". "The Autopsy Garland" is just downright eerie ("Fat rich men love their twelve-years-olds, Deco cuff links and cognac by the glass...You don't wanna see these guys without their masks on") and on the beautifully crafted "Sourdoire Valley Song" The Mountain Goats are at their ethereal best. Who'd have thought that something so apparently simple could sound so exhilarating? * = This is definitely a dig at Ryan Adams