"All Hail West Texas" by the indie folk rock band The Mountain Goats was one of the important Mountain Goats albums of 2002, right next to Tallahassee. Though, while this is folk still, and has a lot of very autobiographical, intimate tracks, Tallahassee isn't lo-fi and is the first album of theirs to consistently have all Mountain Goats members throughout all tracks. All Hail West Texas is singer-songwriter John Darnielle all the way through, with a classic home-recorded sound running through every track. All of the tracks, other than Blues in Dallas, feature basic acoustic guitar playing and Darnielle's emotive, rough but fun-to-listen-to singing.

All Hail West Texas goes to show that you don't need great sounding instrumentals to have an entertaining singer and fluent, eloquent songwriting mixed up in a blender to create something surprisingly spectacular. However, the home-recorded songs tend to have a short wah-wah effect from left to right ears from time to time, which can get incredibly annoying - especially if you're looping it. That, and, despite basic guitar being easy to sing to, lots of tracks follow the same sorts of patterns. Tallahassee is a more...finished album, I'd say, with AHWT being not much more than a collection of demos. Overall, though, it's one of the best, most important TMG albums and the band wouldn't be the same without it.

Rating: B+

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