While sequels to long-ago projects are all the rage in Hollywood (when are we getting Spaceballs II: The Search For More Money?…), they can even happen in music (even The Beatles have a new song out – QRO review). Twenty years ago, John Darnielle released the beloved concept album All Hail West Texas as The Mountain Goats, and now comes its follow-up, Jenny From Thebes.
Though one presumably would need to know the whole original concept to follow the throughline story on Jenny, one doesn’t have to in order to just enjoy it. Indeed, the focus should instead be one Darnielle’s musical range, from the upswing (if on a dark subject) opener “Clean Slate” to the smooth finish “Great Pirates”. There’s Spanish-style ‘life during wartime’ paranoia “Ground Level”, followed by lower-key paranoia in “Only One Way”. There’s the rock push of “Murder at the 18th St. Garage”, but also the power-pop pressure to “Same as Cash”.
So, give up on trying to figure out the story (you’re not going to get Gamehenge, either…), and just enjoy the latest skilled indie-pop from its Mountain maven.