"NO COMPED VOCALS
NO PITCH CORRECTION
Those are the stipulations for The Mountain Goats' new album, Goths, coming out on May 19 and announced just a few days ago on February 22. The album, which follows the tracks of the members of the goth genre in its dying days, is the latest in a string of concept albums from the band, and if their last, Beat the Champ, was any indication, going to pull fans of the band new and old into spaces that could only be conjured up by the mind of songwriter John Darnielle.
“Andrew Eldritch is Moving Back to Leeds" is the first single off of the album, an incredibly bouncy tune with a less-than-upbeat subject matter. Darnielle has never had a problem pulling from real life, and this song, which follows the very real frontman Andrew Eldritch of the very real band The Sisters of Mercy, is no different. If it weren't as light-sounding, the lyrics could make it a ballad: "They don't throw him a parade/He just comes in on a train/One suitcase in his hand/And an old army backpack/From the second world war/From a Leipzig secondhand store".
It's a harsh-but-funny look at the sad realities of the death of a musical genre and subculture, with the (aging but still prolific) Darnielle as its mouthpiece. The lack of guitars is made up for in horns, which tweet away, dissonant against the subject matter. If there's one thing The Mountain Goats know how to do, it's spin cynicism into positive realism, and Goths promises to be an opus for just that.