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All Eternals Deck

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 29, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

The Mountain Goats' 2011 album is called All Eternals Deck, which refers to an apocryphal tarot deck."The songs cluster around themes of hidden things and the dread that hidden things inspire," says singer/songwriter John Darnielle, "but also the excitement, the attraction, the magnetic draw that scary unknown hidden things exert." The band approached recording sessions for All Eternals Deck as commando raids on multiple studios with several producers. "We wanted to see how disparate seasons and moods and locations and producers would play out in the songs," explains Darnielle.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 204 pages (March 29, 2011)
  • 204 pages
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B004MSRDKG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,535 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ty Nelson on March 29, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
Wow, after all of the innumerable albums John Darnielle has put out, I didn't think that I could be surprised. The rock concept has finally come together. If you are new to Mountain Goats, here is a brief recap. All Hail West Texas is a classic of the boombox era, and cherished by lo-fi heads everywhere. Tallahassee and The Sunset Tree are absolute masterpieces. They captured Darnielle's songwriting and lyrics perfectly, with better production value. Get Lonely is good mood music, but not quite as good as the two previously mentioned. Then, to many Mountain Goat's fan's horror, they started making Rock music. Heretic Pride is great at times, but so inconsistent that I have only listened to it start to finish once. The Life of the World to Come is a good offering, but I didn't feel that it added anything to the catalog, and I almost never listen to it. I bought All Eternals Deck today expecting a similar experience: good, but more of the same. I was wrong. There is a variety of sound here without it wandering or giving it an inconsistent feel. These are some of the best rock songs that Darnielle has written, and probably the most accessible album to date, though I would still recommend Tallahassee and Sunset Tree to newbies.
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Format: Audio CD
Odd that this only has three and a half stars. This is the first album I've encountered by these guys (this guy?), but the lyrics are the greatest thing I've heard since I was a 16 year old kid listening night after night to Pavement's "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain." The guy really is America's Best Living Non-Hiphop Lyricist, as the New Yorker dubbed him-- usually I would be skeptical, but Jesus, some of his lines are unbelievable. The track that really got me hooked was the second one, with its line about "the rooms with the heat lamps, where the snakes are born." Such a wonderful image; like "Suzanne" or "Stop Breathing" I wouldn't put any money on what the song means exactly, but it is full of mystery and conjures up its own complete world in just a couple of verses.

The music is growing on me, and in fact it gets better with every listen. Like Bob Dylan said in response to an interviewer who criticized his voice, if you listen you'll hear all the right notes. The bare bones instrumentation, to my mind, adds to things, since what we hear are more the forms of songs that could be performed by many other artists, with different arrangements and points of emphasis, much like Dylan's songs were. I detect a Warren Zevon influence in places, though I could be wrong.

Anyway, it's sad that more people aren't listening to this, and that some of those who have listened to it are giving it mediocre reviews.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let me just begin by saying that I absolutely LOVE the Goats. John is fantastic and, as becomes evident within the first few seconds of any of his songs, he is a lyrical genius. I'd also like to say that I bought this on vinyl and it is a BEAUTIFUL pressing. I haven't experienced any skipping, and even the edges of the record are rounded and smooth. This doesn't affect sound quality, obviously, but you can tell this is high quality, heavy vinyl even as you flip it. It's nice and heavy too with no warping. However, this album is a disappointing departure from the folky, emotional music that has earned him a place among my favorite artists. This isn't an indie folk rock album. It's an indie rock album, and that difference is everything. I really like the minimalist voice and guitar only style of his earlier stuff, but this is over-instrumented. There is too much drum (it becomes kind of headachey after a while) and electric guitar. The emphasis is not on the lyrics. The emphasis is not on John's voice. This is a full-on band, which destroys it for me. Tallahassee and The Sunset Tree really impressed me with their unified storylines that took place over the course of the whole album. Do not expect any such thing here. These songs go together musically, but there is no emotional connection. If this is your first Mtn. Goats album, you may love it. John is good, the lyrics are good, etc. However, seasoned Mtn. Goats fans will be let down. All Hail West Texas is, in my opinion, still John's best work. I hope he rediscovers the part of himself that wrote and recorded that album soon.
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I bought this I think because I couldn't decipher anything about the music contained therein by the packaging, and I love a mystery! I am very glad I bought this record. It has since gone into my regular heavy rotation. I personally think all the songs are fantastic, but they do cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. But wow, is this just a great record. "Age Of Kings" is one of the most haunting songs I've heard in recent memory. The lyrics are very clever and the recording quality is fantastic. This is one of the nicest sounding rock albums I've heard in a long time. I've forced this on everyone I know, and I find I'm getting about the same reactions that I got when I first found out about Ween. Opinions are almost split evenly down the middle between skepticism and high praise. I have a suspicion that this CD will very slowly gain a following and be held in high regard the older it gets. It just sounds like it's going to age well.
Is it for everybody? Who knows? But I have it within arms reach since I bought it.
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