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Archives: Goths

The New Yorker once called the Mountain Goats’ frontman John Darnielle “America’s best non-hip-hop lyricist”. Here, the 50-year-old sometime novelist is in masterly form, reappraising his teenage goth years. The hints of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds in opener Rain in Soho aside, piano, woozy sax and sumptuous Prefab Sprout AOR combine with lyrics about Portuguese goth metal, an unlikely juxtaposition that emphasises the songs’ mix of wry insight and black humour. Darnielle is at his most beautifully evocative (“Outside it’s 92 degrees and KROQ plays Siouxsie and the Banshees … ”) in Stench of the Unburied. There are plenty of chuckles (“Red Lorry Yellow Lorry were on Cherry Red I think / They’ve been playing clubs since 1981”), but the New Order-ish Shelved is as great as anything Darnielle has written. At heart, there’s touching affection for forgotten bands such as Gene Loves Jezebel, those who cling on to their dreams, and an emotional wallop in how the supposed follies of our youth can bring lifelong riches. (Dave Simpson, The Guardian)

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