'Transcendental Youth' explores the sexual abuse of altar boys, Amy Winehouse and drug dealers
John Darnielle’s been doing his thing as The Mountain Goats for 21 years now, and his 14th album under that name is business as usual. We get stories about the sexual abuse of altar boys on ‘Cry For Judas’; Amy Winehouse, on ‘Amy (aka Spent Gladiator I)’; and a couple of drug dealers who are briefly mentioned in Scarface, on ‘Diaz Brothers’. It’s the kind of stuff Darnielle’s whole career has been built on. But on ‘Transcendental Youth’ they’re transformed into poppy little treasures full of brass, piano and life by best bud and previous collaborator Owen Pallett. Slightly predictable, but the work of master craftsmen.