The Mountain Goats // Beat the Champ
You'll be hooked by what could have been just a gimmick in a lesser musician's hands.
The Mountain Goats
Beat the Champ
Eyebrows were certainly raised when it was announced that the latest album by the Mountain Goats was going to be based on professional wrestling. Still, Mountain Goats main man John Darnielle has shown that he can write about things like a pair of guys who want to start the best-ever death-metal band out of Denton, Texas and make you care about them. The same goes for the characters on Beat the Champ, an album that embraces the at-times cheesy nature of wrasslin' and highlights the highs and lows of the business. The blistering "Choked Out" channels the adrenaline rush of a match, while opener "Southwestern Territory" beautifully captures the struggle of the small-time performer. Darnielle cares about these muses, and by the time you hear the riveting tale of a wrestler turned villain in "Heel Turn 2," you'll be hooked by what could have been just a gimmick in a lesser musician's hands. – Alex Bieler