The beloved indie-rock band's sixteenth album is a love letter to a lost scene.Merge, 2017
6.4 / 10
Goths‘s best moments happen when Darnielle and crew step away from their pit of melancholy and have fun with their material. Bookends “Rain In Soho” and “Abandoned Flesh” exemplify this. These moments are the exception here, not the rule. It’s unfortunate and a bit baffling considering the album’s intent. The Mountain Goats‘ sixteenth album is a tribute to “goth acts” like The Cure and Joy Division. Although synonymous with sad and tragic music, their work remains a good deal of fun to get through. Between this and their previous Beat the Champ, it seems that the Mountain Goats aren’t sure what to do with themselves anymore.
To be fair, the band has always been about finding a path forward through looking at the past. However, on their best releases, the band delved into the personal with masterful execution. Here, Darnielle sings about sorta-dead scenes with a tone I think is supposed to be whimsy. Instead, it registers as hopeful. The good stuff here is fun to get through. Mountain Goats on a bad day remain better than most bands on a good day. But in a great year for indie-rock driven by wonderful songwriters, Goths struggles for a place to call its own.