The Mountain Goats: The Life of the World to Come
John Darnielle doesn’t preach the “word of the Lord” in his new album, though he has drawn inspiration from verses in the Bible to sing about universal themes and the meaning of faith.
The Mountain Goats “get biblical” on their new album, said Zach Baron in The Village Voice. The Life of the World to Come offers “12 hard lessons” whose titles are drawn from Bible verses. It isn’t the first time John Darnielle, the literate band’s scribe, has turned to the Good Book for inspiration (see 2008’s Satanic Messiah and Heretic Pride). Though fond of lofty concepts, Darnielle doesn’t preach the “word of the Lord” here. The album is more a “considered treatise on the use and meaning of faith in our lives,” said Steve Leggett in All Music Guide. On “Matthew 25:21,” Darnielle reflects on the death of his mother-in-law, singing, “Tried to brace myself but you can’t brace yourself when the time comes.” He ruminates on love of the romantic kind on the stark piano ballad “Genesis 30:3,” said Afton Lorraine Woodward in The Washington Post. What for Darnielle is primarily a “personal spiritual journey” turns out to be, for the rest of us, a “universal testimony to the human condition.”