Artist: "the Mountain Goats"
Genre: Indie Music
Review: If you know anything about the Mountain Goats, then you know that the "band" is pretty much just a wimpy guy who looks sort of like a wimpy Stephen Colbert. He plays a wimpy acoustic guitar and sings with his nasally (read: wimpy) voice. It's just him with his guitar by himself in the lonely recording studio, and you have the Mountain Goats.
But wait, 10 studio albums later and Darnielle throws out Tallahassee, a goddamn curve ball. Now we have an actual BAND more or less. The sound is still wimpy, but there's, like, drums and bass and stuff now. This is big time, folks!
Of course, that isn't to say that his preceding albums are by any means bad, but as far as accessibility goes Tallahassee is the perfect album for Mountain Goats first-timers. The concept album tells the story of the Alpha Couple, two recurring characters throughout Mountain Goats albums with a crumbling marriage. The Alpha Couple move into a house in Tallahassee, Florida, which also begins to fall apart like their marriage. They are sick of the house, they are sick of their marriage, they start to slowly kill themselves with alcohol.
This horribly depressing story is told through 13 songs, and many of them surprisingly upbeat. Displayed throughout the album is lyrical mastery that may or may not match the song's tone. The catchy "Southwood Plantation Road", my personal favorite, is very hard to listen to without wanting another listen, and successfully captures the Alpha Couple's optimism while at the same time showing their futility. Some of the album is low-key, such as "Idylls of the King", and some showcases some petulent shouting ("See America Right"), but it all flows together very well.
So, yes, Tallahassee is angsty (and wimpy), but not at all off-putting. It's not their best album, but it's a great place to start if you're at all interested in the music of the Mountain Goats. At first a lot of their songs may not seem to have much diversity, especially in the early albums, but there are hooks everywhere in their discography. I didn't like them much at first, now I can't get enough of them.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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