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The Sunset Tree

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Editors’ Notes

A captivating songwriter who has long used his imagination to shed light on the inner lives of misfits, from aging married folks to paranoid drug addicts, John Darnielle (the one constant member of this rotating ensemble) turns the microscope on himself for this unflinching look at his adolescence. Darnielle dedicates the album to his stepfather, an abusive drunk who made things difficult for his family. “Dance Music” spells out the angry tirades, glasses shattering, and a child hiding, with only music to block out the horror. “This Year” is Darnielle’s call to self-reliance (best line: “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me”). Several other tunes replay difficult scenes, while others handle Darnielle’s other obsessions including reggae performer Dennis Brown’s weakness for cocaine. Many Mountain Goats albums were recorded under lo-fi conditions (basically, a Panasonic boombox). However, like many more recent MG collections, The Sunset Tree was recorded professionally and carefully uses the added fidelity to create a strong, never overpowering mood, with sawing strings accompanying Darnielle’s swiftly strummed acoustic guitar.

Customer Reviews

simply amazing

This album is simply amazing... you need to get it. Forget about the brooding self proclaimed "next Bob Dylan" Conor Oberst, John D is the most underrated songwriter in North America right now

Career High Point

Reminiscent of the entire Mountain Goats catalogue, but new and more intensely personal than anything before. John Darnielle simply nails this one, it is impossible not to be affected. The best mix of lyrics and music; consistent, thoughtful, reflective music throughout.

Incredible

I love love love this album. It's a wonderful thing when the words of an album are truly more than just a pitch. Wonderful from start to finish :)

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Claremont, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Mountain Goats are, for all practical purposes, the endlessly clever and prolific John Darnielle and whatever musicians he surrounds himself with, which means that while the soundscape may change from project to project, the overall tone and feel of Darnielle's work remains remarkably consistent. At his best, he writes finely observed, slightly surreal, impressionistic vignettes that manage to mix life as we live it with life...
Full bio