Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Mountain Goats 

Tallahassee (4AD)

Listening to this sad-sack song cycle about a tumultuous marriage in crisis, you'd think Mountain Goats' main man John Darnielle dreamed up the album after watching Cops. Darnielle -- sounding like a latter-day Tennessee Williams who'd grown up listening to John Denver -- both damns and loves his beautiful losers. Here, he journeys on an emotional dirt road from wistful memories of early love to ballads teeming with dreams of vengeance to morbid fatalism and back again.

Though Darnielle doesn't muster quite the intensity of Will Oldham's curdled musings, or match either the poetry of Silver Jews' Dave Berman or the musical inventiveness of Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, he's a more vivid storyteller than any of them, and more melodically inviting. Tallahassee is, of course, a musical document -- and it's in the music that Darnielle invests this moonshine-soaked marriage with a kind of grace. Some of the songs enjoy a simplicity that allows Darnielle's tenderness to shine through; others rip out self-defeating, drunken yarns with dry-eyed clarity. Ultimately, Tallahassee is so good at teasing out the mad and thrilling gorgeousness of bad love that it kind of makes you wish you were in a death-spiraling relationship of your own.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Maya Singer

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Andrea Bocelli @ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

    • Thu., Dec. 2
  • Kellen Erskine @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Dec. 2
  • Louis C.K. @ Agora Theatre

    • Thu., Dec. 2

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation