The Mountain Goats Transcendental Youth
It seems we're never too far away from the next record from the prolific John Darnielle, and his latest comes at a perfect time to join the hit parade of magnificent fall albums released over the past month or so. Transcendental Youth, with its bright, clear piano tones and stately horn swells, is easygoing pop music at its finest. It's a perfect fit with Darnielle's understated flair for insightful storytelling. While some see him as sort of a depressing songwriter, Transcendental Youth sounds to me like a celebration of the human condition, which by its nature is composed of both triumph and tragedy. Inspiration hits right from the get-go, as he commands us to "do every stupid thing that makes you feel alive" on the opener "Amy aka Spent Gladiator", and "White Cedar" is about as uplifting as songs get. The breadth of experience and emotion wrapped in colorful allusions from the pop cultural to the biblical add up to another winner from The Mountain Goats.