The toolkit for a great singer songwriter is always changing. What was acceptable ten years prior may get thrown out of the window in today’s standards. The Mountain Goats have always been lead by the songs of John Darnielle and over the years what he places forward has expanded. On their new album Getting Into Knives, the expanded toolkit shows that the band is always ready to throw us for a loop while making us bigger fans in the process.
The album is different that typical albums by the band. With the sing song opener “Corsican Mastiff Stride” as the bookmark, the brush stroked drums and acoustic guitar come across as an easy going and upbeat sound you can’t walk away from. Followed by the more full band sound of “Get Famous,” the album begins to take shape. But as songs like “As Many Candles As Possible” stretch into new ideas of what the band can be and “Pez Dorado” open up their traditional tone, there’s more here than a band finding new footing.
“Bell Swamp Connection” involves piano and jazzy structures, “The Great Gold Sheep” embarks on an American jazz undercurrent and “Wolf Count” delivers the piano driven tones you’ve always wanted the band to bring to the table. And while “Harbor Me” digs in its heels and offers up a myriad of sounds, the favorite track here comes with “Rat Queen.” Stirring in that sing song measure with piano based melodies and Darnielle’s signature vocal styles, the song adds these guitar notes that open things up while still holding on to the band’s core sound. It may all be new territory but The Mountain Goats still know how to deliver to fans both old and new.
Getting Into Knives can be purchased directly from Merge Records. It’s also available to stream on all services or to purchase in all digital music stores. The Mountain Goats are set to be on tour beginning April 30 in Asheville, NC at The Orange Peel until May 19 in Royal Oak, MI at The Royal Oak Music Theatre. Their complete tour dates can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Jade Wilson.