Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Impressions: Tallahassee by The Mountain Goats

First impressions may not be everything, but they're certainly important. This week, I'm listening to three recent purchases for the first time, and blogging my initial thoughts, track-by-track. Monday was AWOO by The Hidden Cameras; today, it's the turn of Tallahassee by The Mountain Goats.

Here's what I've got going into this album. Firstly, I've heard No Children before, and I love it. It's the reason I bought the CD. Secondly, I make music under the name Shiny Tiger, and at least one person has told me that my stuff reminds them of The Mountain Goats. Thirdly, several people on Twitter have told me that
Tallahasse ranks among their favourite albums of all time.

I'm hoping for big things here. Let's do it...

  1. Tallahassee
    This is a gentle start. The bassline is nice, but this doesn't seem like it's going anywhere. Maybe it's about to explode...nope. Quiet opener, ease us in.

  2. First Few Desperate Hours
    Bit more invigorating, bit more pointed, rising and falling a little more than the rather static first track. Still no No Children, mind...

  3. Southwood Plantation Road
    Ooh, electric sounds! This one's got a slightly kooky feel to it, although it could do with some drumming to drive it along a little more. The vocals are kind of choppy too, coming and going at their leisure; I was hoping that every song would have an elegant, brutal cascade of words running through it, and right know he sounds like he's just singing things as they pop into his head.

  4. Game Shows Touch Our Lives
    Aha! That was a cymbal! Clearly you've got a drumkit in that room with you, Mr. Mountain Goats, so why don't you hit it? This track is slower, and calmer; it's got nice moments, but it's not so amazing as a whole. Oh god, I'm really not that bothered about this album so far! Does the whole internet hate me now?

  5. The House That Dripped Blood
    I like 'the cellar door is an open throat'. That's a good line. It's a pulsating, menacing song, to be sure, but it's still not doing all that much for me...

  6. Idylls of the King
    Oh good, a calm, quiet track. I might have needed that, if the first five songs had blown my mind even slightly. Ugh. This is okay, the 'all of them/all lined up bit' is cool, as is that xylophone bit underneath, but then I just spend the rest of the songs waiting for that bit to come back.

  7. No Children
    See, why couldn't every song be like this one? I was worried that this wouldn't sound as good as I remembered, but it does. It's amazing.

  8. See America Right
    OH MY GOD DRUMS. THANK JESUS. This is a ballsy bit of fuzzed-up nastiness, isn't it? It's also one of the best songs so far. Reminds me of The Hold Steady, a bit.

  9. Peacocks
    ...And we're back. This is a 'sittin' on the back porch, strummin' a guitar' song, and it's...uh...kinda pointless. Sing No Children again!

  10. International Small Arms Traffic Blues
    No, don't get quieter! asdfagfhrgu

    This is another one that's not giving me much to hang onto. It reminds me of Isobel by the Brakes, and Josephine by The Magnetic Fields, except it's not as pretty as the former and not as lyrically enjoyable as the latter.

  11. Have to Explode
    Maybe I've entered into this album with the wrong expectations. I wanted a man spilling his guts, loudly and passionately, but it's all so GENTLE. If I wasn't paying attention, I wouldn't have even noticed that this, ISATB and Peacocks were three different tracks. I'm bored, and this album is running out of time to turn that situation around.

    Three tracks to go. Seriously, Mr. Goats, I really don't want to tell everyone how disappointed I was with this album. I don't care how you do it, but please please please pull a few good songs out of the bag here.

  12. Old College Try
    Okay, this is better...nice organ, the words are flowing more freely than in previous songs, I'm actually kind of interested in what he has to say again. Ooh, and a cool organ solo! This whole ordeal might have a happy ending yet.

  13. Oceanographer's Choice
    Oh my goodness, we may actually have a comeback on our hands here. Against all odds, this one's got a really good groove behind it, and things suddenly sound like they're building to something. It's got drama, it's got tension, it's got an EVERLOVIN' DRUMKIT...and he just did a title drop and it sounded really badass. "Night comes to Tallahassee!" This is great; I've almost forgotten how little I cared about this album a couple of songs ago.

  14. Alpha Rats Nest
    Please be a good one, please be a good one...oh, well, it's upbeat, at least. You could almost dance to this song if you wanted to. My heart still hasn't been ripped out and shown to me, which is kind of what I wanted from Tallahassee, but this certainly has some good stuff going for it. A slightly strange choice of closing track, but at least it was a decent tune.
So a good finish, but overall this struck me as something of a let down. Joking aside, I don't really care about how little drumming there is. It's more what the drumlessness represents, and that's an album that should have been absolutely gut-wrenching but turned to be surprisingly ho-hum.

This is nothing more than an initial impression, of course. I've just taken a peek at Tallahassee's Wikipedia page, and it's apparently a concept album (I did wonder - a lot of these songs are about marital breakdown and falling out of love) so I'm interested to have another listen and see how knowing about the story changes my perception of things. And hey, I was a bit indifferent towards AWOO when I wrote Monday's blog post, and I'm loving those songs now.

So maybe this will grow on me too. I guess we'll see, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment