hello folks! this week, we’re looking at the Mountain Goats’ 11th record Heretic Pride, released in 2008

i like Sax Rohmer #1 a lot – really dig the way they hold off on the snares for the first like minute, where its just the floors and toms accompanying the guitars, and then as it crests into the “i am coming home to you” the snare pops in like a marching drum – neat effect. San Bernadino is a very tender song – extremely beautiful string composition. this is a track ive enjoyed for quite a long time. the peak in the chorus on Heretic Pride is very very good. Autoclave is another one i developed a fondness for a long time ago – its a fairly simple execution over familiar ground, but the imagery here in the chorus especially is v effective. also something v interesting about the female vocal harmonies in the second chorus, singing “no one in her right mind would call my home her home” with Darnielle’s vocals. New Zion’s solid. manages a lot of religious vibes with that organ without leaning heavily in, which makes sense since Darnielle has talked about this dong being written about the idea of cults, haha. So Desperate is another tender song – i feel like a broken record but Darnielle is really writing some excellent choruses on this album. ooooh the strings on the bridge of In the Craters on the Moon kick ASS. the rest of the track is a very effective conveyance of a sense of low, building, inescapable menace, but wow to pay that off with the explosive moments at the bridge and at the end are excellent. speaking of a sense of unease and dread, Lovecraft in Brooklyn is the second reference to a author on the album in a song title, and this one’s very effective and honestly, very fun. Tianchi Lake is p nice. we do love a lake monster. again, the shift into the chorus of How to Embrace a Swamp Monster (“but im out of my element”) is extremely cool, but im kinda middling on the rest of the track. Marduk T-Shirt Men’s Room Incident is a bit haunting. Sept 15 1983 brings some interesting performances – the track is about the death of a reggae artist, and it kinda feels like pulling a bit of that influence in its own way. do i even gotta say that the chorus here shines? the way they sting the piano on “my right hand”… v nice. Michael Myers Resplendent is an excellent, excellent closer. really like this one.

likes – Sax Rohmer #1, San Bernadino, Heretic Pride, Autoclave, Lovecraft In Brooklyn, Michael Myers Resplendent

this really is the record of choruses isn’t it. i dont think theres a bad chorus on this whole record and some of them are incredibly moving. really phenomenal perfornances there.

Darnielle has talked in liner notes and discussions of this record that this is the return to the “unthemed” recording style, that these songs function more as a collection of track written around the same time, but i think there’s a reading here that runs through the record, of waiting and dread. some of the tracks are very open and honest about it (Lovecraft In Brooklyn and In the Craters, for example), but even the more tender, romantic songs have a vibe running under them. San Bernadino is a birth in a difficult place, without proper resources, So Desperate is a romance that is absolutely not in a great place, Marduk T-Shirt is a moment of tenderness after some unspoken tragedy. definitely a reading of the record as a whole being about working through a feeling of unease, of oncoming disaster. i really like this one quite a bit.

Heretic Pride – 9/10

next up, it’s gonna be The Life of the World to Come!

once again, thanks to the Mountain Goats Wiki and the Annotated Mountain Goats site.

support the band by checking this album out on Bandcamp!

the beginning: Zopilote Machine | previous: Get Lonely | next: The Life of the World to Come

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