The Mountain Goats - Goths
Critic Score
Based on 26 reviews
2017 Ratings: #201 / 898
User Score
Based on 218 ratings
2017 Ratings: #213
Liked by 6 people
Sign In to rate and review


Pretty Much Amazing
Though it’s a tad long, and there are points where I get the sense that the band is still feeling out this new sound, Darnielle and crew have crafted a marvelous record that earns its place in the esteemed Mountain Goats canon while standing tall on its own merits.

The LP is both amusing and poignant, full of strange imagery and punch lines that are characteristic of Mountain Goats.

Drowned in Sound

It’s that warm pulse, that gushing camaraderie, that renders Goths as more than a clever conceit; no, this album is a love letter, written in elegant cursive (and blood, obvs), for anyone and everyone that holds the underground to their heart.


In its multiplicity of emotions, styles and sounds, Goths ends up feeling like the most versatile Mountain Goats album.


Darnielle’s lyrics never let nostalgia float off in the ether. There’s a geography to Goths that adds complexity and specificity.

Slant Magazine

Darnielle deftly weaves through memories of an impressionable period in his life and its accompanying soundtrack while avoiding the pitfall of nostalgia or sentimentalism for the music of his youth.

Under The Radar

Goths is vivid and light on its toes, as it runs the gamut of various "goth" personalities both historical and fictional, showcasing one of Darnielle's greatest carnal sins—his ability to glean color from unexpected places.

The Guardian

Here, the 50-year-old sometime novelist is in masterly form, reappraising his teenage goth years.


After over 20 years of writing fine songs and making great records, John Darnielle and the Mountain Goats are actually getting better and more interesting, and Goths is a genuine triumph.


Goths is Darnielle’s most evocative work since the occultist All Eternals Deck and even though it remains loosely conceptual like Beat the Champ, it’s all tethered to this palpable, too-casual melancholy, the kind that comes with telling a cautionary tale one too many times.

The Needle Drop

The Mountain Goats' latest is a gothic-themed concept album, a foray into the world of guitar-less music, and one of the greatest testaments to John Darnielle's chops as a storyteller.

Featuring a cross-section of intersectional persons at different points in life, 'Goths' looks beyond misunderstood, suburban "alt" kids to empathize with those who embody, have embodied, and will continue to embody a goth outlook.

From a conceptual standpoint, Darnielle has achieved an exclusive analysis of the brooding would-be darkwaver, though the brilliance of the inside jokes could fall on deaf, pale ears here.

A.V. Club

More than on any other album, Darnielle and company are stretching past their indie-folk roots with Goths, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition with the album’s look back at what got them (or, at least, Darnielle and Hughes) to where they are now.

The 405

There is brass; lots of brass. There's giddy, Belle and Sebastian-style indie pop. There are a handful of brilliant, impossibly evocative song titles.

Alternative Press

Goths is one of Darnielle and co.’s most daring and well-conceived feats.

God Is in the TV

Fans of the band will absolutely love Goths though. How refreshing to know your favourite band are still rewriting their own rulebook after so many albums.

The Line of Best Fit

Despite the sullen musical tones and absence of the acoustic guitar that Darnielle often strums with a degree of recklessness, a departure from many of their records, this is not The Mountain’s Goats' most mature moment - and we are still very thankful for that.

Consequence of Sound

The things that make Mountain Goats records special — the fervency, the earnestness, the sense of rawness on even the band’s most heavily produced tracks — are, more often than not, buried underneath synth and repetition and subdued swoons here.

Loud and Quiet

With Darnielle’s wry lyricism and the band’s polished sound, it’s a familiarly elegant exercise in tenderness and humour as capable of washing over you as it is catching you unawares with a subtle line.

Northern Transmissions

Despite some brilliance on instrumentation layers, there’s so many times on Goths where the songs just don’t go anywhere, making their fun and truly clever narratives harder to hold onto.

Two years ago, The Mountain Goats taught us to face an opponent with their album "Beat The Champ". John Darnielle, who is considered one of the best lyricists in the world of indie rock, and his band come back with a new concept album entitled "Goths" and which pays tribute to... the Gothic. And if you listened to the album, you will notice that there is no guitar, just a piano and a Fender Rhodes leading the dance. There are some very successful songs such as "Unicorn ... read more
Rain in Soho is such an amazing opener and 11/10 song that everything after unfortunately pales very much in comparison. I appreciate the guys trying something different and goth culture is an interesting theme, but John furiously strumming his guitar like he's about to break it in half is an essential part of the Goats experience to me.
The past few albums saw the Mountain Goats drift from their signature sound. With the intention of challenging themselves, they charge into unfamiliar territory—dropping the guitar altogether. Loosely based on the concept of 1980s goth culture, Goths recounts a handful of compelling tales of characters and their involvement in the scene. While lusher than previous tMG releases, Goths occasionally stumbles but still manages to hold attention with its persuasive storytelling.
This album grew on me for sure. Around the 3rd listen it clicked and I can honestly say I get it. It's a very varied album and their limited use of guitar is admirable.

Favorite Tracks: Rain In Soho, Andrew Eldrich Is Moving Back To Leeds, The Grey King And The Silver Flame Attunment

Edit: 3yrs later and the album has kept growing, its become a staple of my everyday listening and the first 7 tracks are basically a perfect stretch of songs, I can't not up this rating to a 100.
Purchasing Goths from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.

Track List

  1. Rain in Soho
  2. Andrew Eldritch Is Moving Back to Leeds
  3. The Grey King and the Silver Flame Attunement
  4. We Do It Different on the West Coast
  5. Unicorn Tolerance
  6. Stench of the Unburied
  7. Wear Black
  8. Paid in Cocaine
  9. Rage of Travers
  10. Shelved
  11. For the Portuguese Goth Metal Bands
  12. Abandoned Flesh
Sign in to comment
No one has said anything yet.

Added on: February 22, 2017