Dusted Reviews

The Mountain Goats - All Hail West Texas

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: The Mountain Goats

Album: All Hail West Texas

Label: Emperor Jones

Review date: Apr. 2, 2002

The Mountain Goats are a one-man band, masterminded by indie mainstay John Darnielle. Though Darnielle’s buddies occasionally widen their sound, two constants have remained with the Mountain Goats since their inception. The first is that Darnielle will be playing his guitar and singing the songs. The second is that the band will record on a ghetto blaster purchased at a department store. Both of these charming qualities have been ubiquitous on Mountain Goats records, and they are equally responsible for the Mountain Goats’ sound.

On All Hail West Texas, we again find Darnielle singing narratives and spinning yarns, this time with the loose theme that all of the songs are set in West Texas. Darnielle creates some memorable characters, from the football player who ends up in prison after selling acid to cops on “Fall of the Star High School Running Back,” to the rowdy kids that comprise “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton.” His characters run the emotional spectrum from joy to sorrow, and make stops in between at destinations many talented songwriters neglect. Another highlight of the album is “Riches and Wonders,” a song that finds its narrator very much in love and content with life. “Blues in Dallas” features a drum machine and synth, and it is the lone track that deviates from the guitar and vox arrangement. Darnielle feels no need to show off with fancy strummin’ or arcane chords, rather he finds sincerity and metaphor to be his most effective weapons. In this respect, the Mountain Goats are most reminiscent of Loudon Wainwright III in song structure and vocal delivery.

All Hail West Texas is a low fidelity revelation for listeners looking for great songwriting and stories. The experience of listening to the album is akin to being pleasantly surprised by the songs of a busker or coffee shop artist. The band exudes a warmth that is equal parts Darnielle and tape hiss.

By Andy Cockle

Other Reviews of The Mountain Goats



We Shall All Be Healed

The Sunset Tree

Get Lonely

Heretic Pride

The Life of the World to Come

All Eternals Deck

Transcendental Youth

Read More

View all articles by Andy Cockle

Find out more about Emperor Jones

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.