The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee

Like Badly Drawn Boy, The Mountain Goats is really just the work of one man and an ever changing line up of musicians. That man in question is John Damielle who is currently working with bassist and multi-instrumentalist Pete Hughes. "Tallahassee" was recorded in upstate New York at Tarbox Road Studios and was produced by Tony Doogan who has worked with Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Mojave 3 and The Delgados.

"Southwood Plantation Road" is a semi-acoustic indie type arrangement. Damielle's vocal is kind of half spoken / half sung rather like Stephen Malkmus. It's expressive if a little whiny at times, but typical of the lyrical subject matter of bitterness and hopeless romanticism. "No Children" is a song full of cynicism, pessimism and regret but with a sardonic sense of humour with Franklin Bruno's piano playing lusciously backing.

Imagine the White Stripes at their most swamp infested hillbilly blues finest and you'll get an idea of how fine "Sea America Flight" is. Rather like a less extreme version of Liam Lynch's "Whatever" this rockabilly riot of sound is irresistible with lines like "Your love is like a cyclone" how can it possibly go wrong. "Oceanographer's Choice" could have been written by Morrissey if he'd been born in the rural beauty of Bloomington, Indiana. Damielle sings "Everybody's gonna need a witness" with such emotional detachment that it detracts from it's chilling honesty and with the sort of attention to details that Nick Cave writes about the human condition.

Personally I found "Tallahassee" utterly charming, but like a lot of quirky artists may be a little too off the wall for some taste's. For those who welcome originality, wit and style this will be right up your street.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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