Textured shade hiding in shining light
On any Mountain Goats record, John Darnielle’s unflinchingly elegant lyrical turns of phrase are all but given. On All Eternals Deck, the first Goats effort for Merge, they are also packaged in effortlessly clean trappings, culminating in the album’s gorgeous centerpiece, the gospel-infused “High Hawk Season.” Living in the same sonic pocket as more visible acolytes like The Decemberists or Death Cab for Cutie, the album plies far deeper waters. Beneath their easy glide songs like “Damn These Vampires” and “The Autopsy Garland” lie deeper musings about the omnipresence of evil and the challenge of finding the good in its face. This carefully sculpted juxtaposition of weight and waft has by now become the band’s larger calling, and All Eternals Deck manages to be simultaneously esoteric and accessible, faithful and irreverent. After all, sometimes there’s room to parse a dark night of the soul while also humming through a Sunday drive.