Review: The Mountain Goats’ ‘Goths’

A Successful New Spin on an Old Sound

Goths, the 2017 album by The Mountain Goats, redevelops frontman John Darnielle’s classic style. On first listen, there’s something missing, estranged. Maybe it’s the ominous walk through a dark forest in the opening song “Rain in Soho,” rivaling The Mountain Goats’ typical, cheery melodies. However, the overarching void in structure is Darnielle’s missing instrument: There is no guitar on the album. The lack of guitar, once a staple of The Mountain Goats, contributes to a new attempt by band members to capture something fresh and enticing. And it works! The album combines melodic keyboard with Southern soul horns and ecstatic drums, paying homage to their classic sound yet defining something entirely fresh. Goths tells the story of a 1980s Goth singer, using playful lyrics and pop-rock bass lines to tell tales of death and dissidence in society. From start to finish, you never know where Goths will take you, the Mountain Goats entertaining all the way through.

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