The Mountain Goats : Palmcorder Yajna

Spooky acoustic weirdness

Over the last eleven albums, the frighteningly prolific Mountain Goats – to all intents and purposes just one man, Portland native John Darnielle, and his boombox – has gradually grown out of bang-on-a-can lo-fi and grown into one of the most quietly skilful singer-songwriters of the decade so far. A haunted, lyrical acoustic number steeped deep in cobwebbed American Gothic, ‘Palmcorder Yajna’ finds Darnielle living out some vivid waking dream, smoking tabs and sharing jokes with the freaks, junkies, and malcontents that roam through his quavering narrative like restless spirits. Yet there’s an eerie cheer to proceedings, as gravestones multiply in the yard outside and a carpet of ants swarm over the furniture. Those distant chimes? It’s not Santa’s sleigh. It’s the rusted bell of the Grim Reaper, and the Mountain Goats, they welcome its every toll with another whiskey shot.

Louis Pattison