The Mountain Goats
We Shall All Be Healed


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
May 9th, 2009 | 147 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We Shall All Be Healed is a haunting look at addiction that bleeds with an intimacy that leaves the listener hanging on Darnielle's every word.

Under his stage name The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle has somehow managed to amass a catalog of releases that puts most encyclopedias to shame. Even more surprising is the consistency of the material he puts forth. Out of the nineteen full-lengths that he has released since his first bedroom recordings in 1991, there is not one that can be seen as disappointing. For the first thirteen years of his music career Darnielle's songs culled from a variety of topics ranging from lofty literature to highly detailed and emotional character studies, but it wasn't until he started to look inward, starting with 2004's We Shall All Be Healed, that Darnielle hit pure gold.

We Shall All Be Healed is a bittersweet ode to Darnielle's youth. Set in the prevailing sprawl of Pomona, California (part of the never ending expanse of Los Angeles), Darnielle's first semi-autobiographical album details the destructive cycle of methamphetamine addiction that consumed Darnielle's group of friends in his teenage years. The Mountain Goats' official website puts it best when it says that We Shall All Be Healed is "based on people John used to know. Most of them are probably dead or in jail by now."

For such a heavy topic, Darnielle tackles it like every other album to bear his name making it a personal one on one with a man and his acoustic guitar. Right from the get go We Shall All Be Healed emotes an underlying tension ready to tear the whole thing apart. The album's opener "Slow West Vultures", with its swelling strings in stark contrast to Darnielle's acoustic guitar, feels like it is going to burst. Even when We Shall All Be Healed is at its most upbeat on tracks like "Palmcorder Yajna" and "Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into The Water, Triumph Of", it still exudes a sarcastic rage as if Darnielle has torn out a piece of his soul to go along with every line. This deathly seriousness hits its peak on the hauntingly bare "All Up The Seething Coast" as Darnielle's minimalist guitar chords act as a grim backdrop for the futility of addiction. As he whispers "And nothing you can say or do will stop me/ And a thousand dead friends can't stop me" the cord is broken and the entire weight of Darnielle's words are thrust upon the listener.

As We Shall All Be Healed nears its close, Darnielle offers what may very well be the most moving song of his career in "Against Pollution". Avoiding all subtlety, it hits like a brick with its opening lyrics of "When I worked down at the liquor store/ Guy with a shotgun came raging through the place/ Muscled his way behind the counter / I shot him in the face." Darnielle's pensive deadpan is surreal and unnerving. The dark intensity of the story soon erupts into epiphany when only moments later he sings "When the last days come / We shall see visions more vivid than sunsets brighter than stars/ We will recognize each other and see ourselves for the first time the way we really are." This poignant dichotomy of light and dark catapults "Against Pollution" into the realm of lyrical perfection.

We Shall All Be Healed is a haunting look at addiction that bleeds with an intimacy that leaves the listener hanging on Darnielle's every word. Even more, it shows that John Darnielle is at his most affective when his subject matter is culled from personal experience.



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user ratings (123)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2009


17215 Comments


Decided to do a personal favorite for #50.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

easylee
May 9th 2009


80 Comments


is this based on the book?

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 9th 2009


4461 Comments


mmm, Mountain Goats need more love around here.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
May 9th 2009


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Home Again Garden Grove is one of my favorite The Mountain Goats songs

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2009


17215 Comments


Keeping Tec-9's tucked under the floorboards

Mountain Goats need more love around here.

seriously. and I love how the wrong art shows up on the mainpage.
This Message Edited On 05.09.09

kygermo
May 9th 2009


996 Comments


Yeah really, Bush has nothing to do with the Mountain Goats..

allthatfollowedfell
May 9th 2009


23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this but can't bring myself listen to it since I bought the CD, the distorted vocals bug me. They aren't as noticeable on mp3s

kitsch
May 9th 2009


5107 Comments


dude youre not indie enough to listen to this.

i have a lot of MG albums, i think im about to just delete them all and get a torrent discog cause theyre so good.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2009


20857 Comments


Great review Adam. A worthy for your 50th & congrats on getting to that milestone.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2009


17215 Comments


thanks!

allthatfollowedfell
May 10th 2009


23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm plenty indie enough to listen to this Kitsch, I've got his discog and enjoy the boom box stuff, the distortion would be fine on a few songs, but throughout the whole album it gets a bit annoying. Defiantly get the discog thats on mininova with all the live shows.

Waior
May 21st 2009


11452 Comments


Happy mile-stoning, you had me sold for this with just the summary.

withALMONDS
May 21st 2009


214 Comments


The Mountain Goats - We Shall All Be Healed by Waior

formatting didn't show up right away, and i thought WHAT A GREAT ALBUM TITLE

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2009


17215 Comments


hope you enjoy

gaslightanthem
May 22nd 2009


5209 Comments


pretty cool band

Waior
May 22nd 2009


11452 Comments


The Mountain Goats - We Shall All Be Healed by Waior


HA! Praise Waior.

Anyways, I will be acquiring this soon enough.

Lions
June 23rd 2009


1015 Comments


awesome review. I'm a big fan of Coroner's Gambit and Tallahassee is ok, but this sounds great. Probably going to get this once I revive my Ipod from the other day's walk in a thunderstorm.

PanasonicYouth
June 23rd 2009


7411 Comments


Thank you so much for getting me to download this, Adam. Not even kidding.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2009


17215 Comments


you're welcome.

bungy
January 19th 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Always a MG album I get obsessed with for a month or two, might actually 5 this one



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