First Listen: The Extra Lens, ‘Undercard’
As the voice of The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle has released hundreds of bracing, brilliant songs. Some are defiantly low-fidelity, white-knuckle solo anthems, documented on crummy boom boxes amid tape hiss and street clatter. Others exude resignation and ache amid oddly jazzy, high-gloss production. But virtually all find Darnielle occupying the lives of desperate dreamers, angry kids, broken lovers, hopeless underdogs, and everyone else whose goals and fantasies lie well outside their grasp. Darnielle’s high, pinched voice isn’t for everyone, but his stories are; each song, on some level, tells the story of humanity — the way we’re hardwired to fall short, keep trying, and fall short some more.
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