The Mountain Goats, 'The Life of the World to Come' (4AD)

8
The Life of the World to Come
Critical Mass
Label: 4AD

by Joe Gross

Drawing his 17th studio album's title from the fourth-century Christian text the Nicene Creed, Mountain Goats singer-songwriter John Darnielle then uses Bible verses to launch into taut, unpretentious tunes that sound flawless (hard-strummed acoustic guitar, spare piano and strings, fat round drums) and scan smartly (finest non-hip-hop lyricist in American pop). Turn to the Good Book for context -- it's only the basis for most Western lit, people -- but there's more than enough here (fear, love, spray paint, etc.) for the most devout atheist.

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