Review Summary: Hail Satan. Hail, hail.
In the world of The Mountain Goats, 2002 might as well have been 1054. John Darnielle's great schism split The Mountain Goats canon between the do it yourself ethos of his earliest homemade cassettes and the polished studio sheen of his current releases. All Hail West Texas
marked the last time Darnielle's aging boom-box would act as his recording studio, as his contract with 4AD records and his budding friendship with singer-songwriter/producer John Vandersilce offered up new opportunities and capital for the Mountain Goats moniker.
As its name implies, All Hail West Texas
is a collection of loosely related stories from the dusty nether regions of the Southern state, playing out like a gossip rag full of the dreams, vices, and tribulations of nobodies stuck in nothingness. Darnielle's songs have transitioned from the hushed, interpersonal aching of The Coroner's Gambit
to nu-folk anthems, stimulating the sing-a-long section of the brain, awash in optimism, even at their darkest moments. Yet, at the core of it all is the same brilliant wordplay and sense of wonder that runs through all of The Mountain Goats albums.
All Hail West Texas
might not be the best Mountain Goats album, but it is with out a doubt the easiest to relate to. Every story presented on it feels as though it was pulled from your own personal diary, becoming a personal battle cry, because honestly, who hasn't overcome a little opposition in their life.