The Life of the World to Come
The inspired and prolific John Darnielle leads his loose band (often it’s just voice and either acoustic guitar or piano) through a dozen songs titled after biblical verses. Throughout 15 years as the head Goat, Darnielle has always been ready to pick up a gimmick and run with it a bit. Here, he’s got a doozy, but just listen to how The Mountain Goats pull it off. “Hebrews 11:40” modulated the tension of a world that’s not too far away from turning into a nightmare. “Romans 10:9” shambles along with band members taking turns gently propping up the singer’s good news, a warm, quaint arrangement style long mastered by The Waterboys. But as much as you can enjoy the rocking and rueful nostalgia of “Genesis 3:30” (which asks, don’t we all have some sort of garden we’ve been kicked out of?), the best here is “Matthew 25:21.” This quiet mix of grieving memoir and violent metaphor stops just shy of being overwritten, but it succeeds totally as a heart-wrecker.