Full Of Energy
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely - 2006 (4AD)
The few artists who get beyond their 10th album usually end up throwing in the kitchen sink as they flail around for new directions - but this fate hasn't befallen John Darnielle's Mountain Goats. On their umpteenth opus, the band's music sounds as sparse as ever, comparable only to that of Nick Drake or David Crosby. For long periods, the only instrumentation is a well-placed piano note or the hushed breath of a percussive stroke. The effect is to draw the listener into the tantalising detail of Darnielle's songs, and particularly his amazingly vivid lyrics - eerie, evocative stuff about marbles hitting mirrors, highways where "unlucky stray dogs bleed" and hearing "angels in my ears". The effort is painstaking although the moods vary, and when he colours in the picture, such as the scintillating guitar waterfalls of In the Hidden Places, the Goats' appeal stretches beyond bedsit introspectives.