The Mountain Goats continue the story of Jenny, which started on 2002's All Hail West Texas, on their new sequel album, Jenny From Thebes. Guests include Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's and Matt Nathanson.
The Mountain Goat’s discography is filled with recurring characters, and Jenny, a figure initially introduced in the All Hail West Texas track that bears her name, is one of the enigmatic personas that populate their songs. In Jenny From Thebes she returns, ready to satisfy the curiosity of fans who’ve been following the tales threaded through the band’s songs. But Jenny remains a tantalizing enigma, defined more by her absence than her presence, her identity shaped by the other characters who orbit around her. She's on the run, escaping from something sinister, something catastrophically bad.
This album expands the story of Jenny, her southwestern ranch-style house, the people who seek refuge within its walls, and the uneasy relationship between the small west Texas town and the sanctuary it provides. It's an exploration of the individual and society, safety and shelter, and the individuals who step up to offer care when no one else will. But Jenny From Thebes is a bit more than just a concept album. It's a lush collection of showtunes that pushes John Darnielle's vocals and the Mountain Goats' music, drawing inspiration from diverse influences like Godspell, Jim Steinman, and the Cars. It’s an album that paints its narrative on a widescreen canvas, rich in detail and emotion.
Darnielle, the creative force behind the Mountain Goats, makes it clear that this isn't your typical concept album; it's a full-fledged rock opera with the production in the capable hands of Grammy-winner Trina Shoemaker. It also features the guitar work of Alicia Bognanno from Bully, intricate horn and string arrangements courtesy of Matt Douglas, and backing vocals from Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's and indie folk great, Matt Nathanson.
As the latest chapter in the Mountain Goats' evolving narrative, Jenny From Thebes is a musical spectacle, a breathtaking melodrama filled with richly drawn characters and sweeping emotions. It's a journey into the heart of Jenny's story, as she rides into the unknown on her Kawasaki, leaving behind a town that can no longer bear her weight. With the Mountain Goats' distinctive storytelling ability, the album is bound to be an evocative experience for both old fans and newcomers alike.