Review Summary: I think someone was mean to you.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
The Mountain Goats are one of those bands who have a whole separate page for their discography on Wikipedia, if I could ever find a woman who could recite all of their albums or EPs, I would marry her on the spot despite all of her horrible deformities. One somewhat hidden gem of John Darnielle's enormous discography is Isopanisad Radio Hour. It features (what I believe) to be one of the top 25 Goats songs ever released. This EP is full of the John Darnielle we know and love, simple melodies, complex lyrics, and references I don't understand, but I love anyways.
The album starts out with the lo-fi Mountain Goats we all know from past releases. Abide With Me is actually John Darnielle's rendition of a Henry Lyte hymn from 1847, written by Lyte while he lay dying from tuberculosis, only to die weeks later. This song never really stuck with me until I found out its backstory, John gives the hymn his usual Mountain Goats treatment, simple guitar playing with his vocals, which is never anything to complain about.
The next track is Born Ready, another song based around location, like the "Going To _____" series. The lyrics are backed by a soft keyboard part, acoustic guitar, bass, and drums played with brushed. It's a nice tune, and the acoustic guitar solos are nice, it adds to the song tremendously. This song is a great example of the simple lyrics John Darnielle is known for, this clearly isn't his best lyrical endeavor, but it's good.
The next three tracks are the best on the EP by my standards. First is Cobscook Bay. It's got a very dream-like feel to it, It also includes the first and only use of an electric guitar on the EP, with soft echoed parts backing the quiet acoustic guitar, accompanied by bells. To me this is one of the best Mountain Goats songs musically, somewhat of a hidden gem trapped under songs like "No Children" and "This Year." It reminds me a lot of Dinu Lipatti's Bones, the quietness and dream-like feel. Now I don't exactly know what the lyrics mean, but I like them. This song for me is the high point of the EP.
Dutch Orchestra Blues is next, and it's kind of forgettable. It's a catchy tune, and it's a good song, but it's not the best. Then comes Pseudothyrum Song, which for the longest time I went thinking was PseudoRHYTHM song, trying to figure out what a pseudorhythm is and how to play one, then getting angry, then getting disappointed when i saw the real title, then listening to the song a bunch of times. Turns out though, a pseudothyrum is a secret door, not an awesome drum rhythm as I'd once hoped. I really dig the lyrics on this one, they're simple but they can hit hard. Whether they're about JD himself and his childhood or a someone else is to be decided by someone who isn't me. I think this is the 2nd best song on the EP.
Finally track 6 is The Last Limit Of Bhakti. It's got a fun little banjo rhythm going, but otherwise I don't think it has much else going for it. The banjo is nice, but I'm not sure I personally like it. Not a big fan of the lyrics either. I think it's the weakest on the EP.
Overall, Isopanisad Radio Hour is definitely worth a listen for hardcore Mountain Goats fans and newly discovered fans alike and it's a hidden gem in John Darnielle's catalog.