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Relatively short reviews of three new(ish) albums by indie musicians who are various stripes of Christian. Three very different approaches, even within the extremely narrow subgenre of “guy with crackly kinda difficult voice and a million emotions tries not to despair, while playing the guitar.” In, iirc, order of album release.
The Mountain Goats, “In League with Dragons.“ I love the Mountain Goats. Somebody got me to listen to this thing (trigger warning: No Children) and I was instantly hooked. I loved “Beat the Champ” (my review undersells it), the “pro wrestling nostalgia as way of coping with unslaked childhood thirst for justice” album; “Werewolf Gimmick” is one of the scarier songs about committing violence, and “Choked Out” is the absolute best song about ecstatically surrendering to it. Anyway so, this album was more hit or miss for me. There’s a very ’70s/early ’80s flavor to the situations, and an ’80s synth element in the music, which I always am here for. Eerie synths and a sax solo and a man doin’ wrong… can do no wrong. There are some echt MG lyrics (“It never hurts to give thanks to the broken bones/you had to use to build your ladder”) and some self-parodic ones, as in the song where an elderly garbage-raiding possum is the singer and possibly also God. “All you parasites climb aboard! All you vagabonds, praise the Lord.” The usual MG paranoia, anticipation, haunted houses (“things were even worse here than they sounded”). There’s country guitar, jingle jangle, and in the back half of the album there’s some very bizarre crowding and spacing of the lyrics, which I didn’t appreciate.
D - D - Flavor - Title - Song
The ’70s atmosphere extends to a D&D flavor, in the title song and also in “Clemency for the Wizard King.” That song struck me as catchy but slight. It...
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