3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2007
This is one album for anyone who appreciates a poetic voice and powerful folk rock. It changed the way I thought about a whole host of subjects. Darnielle grabs you with a catchy rif particularly on songs like Dance Music but leaves you feeling uncompfortable. You realise once it's too late that's his lyrics are deeply personal and moving.
A great album. The only problem with reviews like this on amazon is that you never get an unbiased view. The only people who, quite frankly, can be bothered, either love the album or hate it. Guess You'll just have to see for yourself.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2005
John Darnielle, the talented lyricist and singer behind The Mountain Goats, here swaps the oblique wordplay, which baffled me on previous records, for deeply personal tales of child abuse and broken households from his past. At his most direct ('This Year', 'Dance Music'), it can be difficult to listen to, but the fact that Darnielle has dedicated the album to his abusive stepfather only symbolises the uplifting messages of hope that are also present. Musically, acoustic guitars, pianos and Darnielle's distinctively high vocals mostly lead the typically catchy pop songs, with a few exceptions: 'Dilaudid' finds Darnielle alone with a string section and the Peter Buck-esque mandolin on 'Magpie' wouldn't be out of place on R.E.M's 'Out Of Time'. Don't be put off by lyrics like "as my step father yells at my mother/launches a glass across the room"; this is a truly wonderful record. There's still time to make Darnielle the star he deserves to be.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2005
Eleven albums in, John Darnielle and his fellow Goats just continue to get better. Produced by indie underground icon John Vanderslice, The Sunset Tree is the Mountain Goats' most personal, most poppy at times, most beautiful and most affecting recording since their inception.
The music however, takes equal precedent with the lyrics this time, with the content mainly centered around stories of Darnielle's abusive step father, and his upbringing. But it doesn't bog down the music at all, and the each song has the same clear infectious presentation and addictiveness that's been present since 2002's 'Tallahassee'. There is much more instrumentation this time around too; gone are the days of one acoustic guitar and one voice, which this time touches shoulders with cellos and pianos. Also, Peter Hughes' fearsome bass work really comes forward in 'Broom People', one of many highlights.
All in all, the Mountain Goats don't know how to make bad records, and this could be their best. Another gem for fans, another great starter for the uninitiated. Job well done lads, again.
Critics and fans tend to rate this as the very best Mountain Goats album. Although it is apparently about an abused childhood, it certainly took me a good few listens to pick up on it. It is a varied, and at times exhilarating listen, not as dark sounding as the subject matter might suggest.
This is probably the most musically rounded and best produced of the Mountain Goats albums. Particular highlights are Dilaudid, Lion's Teeth, and Pale Green Things but it would be a shame to pull a few tracks out of such a well rounded album.
If you like this, then lyrically and thematically, Tallahassee, will appeal, and musically Get Lonely will appeal. Also well worth searching out is the Moon Colony Bloodbath EP which was released on vinyl, but is findable for free download.
Sample lyrics - from Pale Green Things
got up before dawn
went down to the racetrack.
riding with the windows down
shortly after your first heart attack.
you parked behind the paddock,
cracking asphalt underfoot,
coming up through the cracks
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2014
Fantastic sound, I bought this album after hearing part of a song featured in The Walking Dead, I did a bit of research and found the Mountain Goats, I am blown away, the depth and the sound of the music are hypnotizing and each song is better than the last, requires repeat listing to understand some of the lyrics ( if you enjoy that kinda thing ).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2012
Sorry about that awful pun. The point here is that The Sunset Tree is a great album. First MG album I've bought since people online seemed to think it was their best, and they weren't wrong. Best album I own.
on 16 April 2015
I had heard one song from this album, when it featured in series four of The Walking Dead, and was instantly taken by it. The album is a very intense collections that illustrate the artists tormented youth...
To say the songs are nice would be wrong; they are melodic, well crafted and very intense. I think this is one of my better finds over the last few years and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates a well written ballad. The style, whilst American folk-rock, is neither trite nor mewling.... much like Nick Cave and Johnny Cash, the artist has depth and character that flows through his music. This is an excellent album.
on 18 November 2014
great stuff, gotta love this...
though not for all, the singer is an acquired taste, in my first few listenings of this album i was unsure about it, especially his voice. BUT, with a few listenings it started to win me over, i found myself humming the songs at work and subsequently looking forward to hearing them again, by the tenth listen 'the sunset tree' became my new favourite album, i urge you to give it a go.
on 23 January 2011
A beautiful melancholy album - snippets of a sad childhood - rendered via by looking back on times past. Listening to this invariable moving album transports you to a 80s California, there is a something magically emotive in John Darnielle lyrics, pairing with stripped back guitar and piano. The album is wonderfully unrefined and refreshing - I particular love that you can hear and appreciate every word.