In SPIN’s review of the Mountain Goats’ excellent new album, Transcendental Youth, writer Keith Harris notes that “both the storyteller and his characters seem incapable of chilling the fuck out.” And so it is in the new video for “Cry For Judas,” a clip populated by people caught up in serious strife or strange experiments. One young woman’s fascination with the devil leads to her founding a garge band called Escariot Rising and performing a mysterious ritual in front of a homemade altar. Another with a pro-life poster in her window mourns the loss of her red-blooded American man (hilariously portrayed by drummer Jon Wurster) before discovering that she’s pregnant. And somehow, singer John Darnielle ends up dead.
It’s actually quite light-hearted for a video about worshiping Satan, abortion and committing murder. As Pitchfork points out, Darnielle explained a bit about the song itself via the Mountain Goats site back in July. “It is about survival but that’s kind of an oversimplification, it’s also about building a vehicle from the defeated pieces of the thing you survived and piloting that vehicle through the cosmos, it’s kind of complicated but people who know what I’m talking about will kind of intuitively get the idea and the rest of you will I hope be able to get a sense of it through the song.” Now, we can get a sense of this intense cosmic ride through film as well.