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Heretic Pride (Bonus Track Version)

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iTunes Review

Turning away from the self-analysis of his last few releases, musician and lyricist extraordinaire John Darnielle returns to telling other people’s stories here, shading them in a wide range of aural tonalities. The heartbreaking story of new parents in “San Bernardino” is told over unadorned, willowy cello parts and gently plucked strings, but “Lovecraft in Brooklyn,” about the famed writer’s xenophobia, seethes with emotional confusion while guitars zig and zag like a garage band trying to find its sound. Bonus track “Toolshed” may be a first-person story, one in the flow of confessionals released by Darnielle after his stepfather died.  Either way, it’s bitterly heartwrenching. Collaborating once again with Peter Hughes and Franklin Bruno of Nothing Painted Blue, Jon Wurster of Superchunk, cellist Erik Friedlander, and producers John Vanderslice and Scott Solter, Darnielle has found a sound that retains the charm of his earlier, more primitive works, while allowing him to take advantage of the 4AD aesthetic that makes everything from the album packaging to the music inside shiny and beautiful.

Customer Reviews

Another Brilliant Darnielle Record

John Darnille has once again cranked out a new Mountain Goats record without a beat skipped in neither lyrical or instrumental songwriting. "Heretic Pride" draws away from the delicate 'Get Lonely' of 2006, and returns to Darnielle's angsty, revenge-ridden cries backed by drums, strings, and guitar line, and while isn't anything special or particularly innovative from The Mountain Goats, is just as enjoyable as any other of their albums, in fact has risen to one of my favorites. The opener, 'Sax Rohmer, # 1' (incorrectly labeled on iTunes), harkens back to "Tallahasse," with a punchy beat and catchy chorus detailing a traveler's return home (a common motif of The Mountain Goats). 'San Bernardino' calms the record's mood to a string and acoustic guitar duet before the title track exhibits Darnielle's quick tongue amalgamating with his unrivaled lyrical ability in an anthem for the blasphemous. Electric bass emerges in Autoclave with doubled vocals progressing into 'New Zion,' which shows a new direction into an almost reggae realm before turning into a vibrant piano finale. 'So Desperate' experiments with Darnielle's falsetto - feeling awkward at first but then falling into place. 'In The Craters on the Moon,' my favorite song on the album, is a war song characterized by bass drums and a sharp string line. Darnielle reaches new octaves as he cries in desperation about a world with no reason or order. Electric guitars are thrust into 'Lovecraft in Brooklyn' and then die in favor of a acoustic of the next three songs, before the finale in 'Michael Myers Resplendent,' an ethereal piano and string piece with Darnielle once again reverting to falsetto in a beautiful closer. Also included is bonus B-Side. But seriously, a fantastic buy - it's worth every penny.

2 thumbs eagerly, yet predictably, up

I don't know what to tell you, this is a Mountain Goats cd. If you like the mountain goats, buy it, because you will like it for all of the reasons that you love what John Darnielle does so well, that I won't take the time to list here. If you don't like the Mountain Goats, then you should reconsider what it is you find appealing in life, because there is something, something I can't quite explain, that you just don't get about music specifically, but also life in general.

Very solid Album

I'm new to The Mountain Goats, but this album certainly rivals the earlier material that I've heard from them. This is a great singer-songwriter album that is easily enjoyed and appreciated. I like the combination of deeply personal tunes along with songs about a wide variety of strange events and creatures (like Tianchi Lake) all backed by simple, yet well-arranged music. John Darnielle's voice can be a bit grating at times, but it also seems to make the songs more real and heartfelt. This is a strong collection of pop-rock tunes for those that appreciate smart, emotional, and melodic music. Favorite Tracks: San Bernardino, Heretic Pride, How to Embrace a Swamp Creature


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 as we wish we could live it, and as such he has more in common with...
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