Heretic Pride ‘ The Mountain Goats
BY CHRIS PEKEN
On the credits to Heretic Pride John Darnielle writes: ‘Respect to all vultures, jackals, hyenas and possums, and to the elusive Tasmanian tiger, for whose return we nightly pray.’ I have no idea to what we owe Darnielle’s prayers for our beloved Tassie tiger, but more power to him (and his prayers). Where last years Get Lonely left me a little indifferent as Darnielle (who is for all intensive purposes Mountain Goats) struggled to connect with his words, Heretic Pride sees a return to the sharp observational, surreal and impassioned form that marks his best work. Simple, clean and clear production on Heretic Pride plays an important role in allowing Darnielle’s voice to provide most of the dramatic range as he shares his short tales of (amongst other things) lake monsters, breakup sex and slasher films. String arrangements are well placed within most of the songs, sitting so naturally that you almost forget they are there; while they crank up the guitars for Lovecraft in Brooklyn letting the inner rocker out before the quiet strum of Tianchi Lake returns us to a more tranquil place. If anything will tempt the Tassie tiger out of hiding in the wilderness and back into the music stores, Heretic Pride may just be it.