My awareness of Modest Mouse was that of sheer ignorance four years ago and has since become one of my most-listened to band. They, like Radiohead or The National, seem to be a band that can put together terrific individual songs and wholly listenable albums, where the weaker songs are bolstered by the stronger songs around them.
I’ve only one gap left in my Modest Mouse collection, and BNY kind of kept me from filling it in, but then again, the albums I do have have continually kept me satisfied including their most recent, 2007’s We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.
The seemingly Tom Waits inspired grit of “March Into The Sea” opens the album with a pointed thud, and is followed by probably their most recognizable tune to date, “Dashboard” which brings some disco influence into a pulsating, danceable and still modern tune. “Fire It Up” is a punchy slow-burn, while “Florida” is a kinetic, oft-switched-up song that just clicks. The haunting, ominous, “Parting of the Sensory” is probably the weakest tune on the album, “Missed The Boat” keeps the tempo steady but feels positively wistful (an avant garde pub sing-along perhaps), and then we’ve got everything brings an 80’s sensibility without feeling dated. “Fly Trapped In A Jar” and “Education”, like “March Into The Sea” most typify the Modest Mouse sound, snotty, wry, crunchy and a erratic. “Little Motel” brings the tempo back down again and teeters on saccharine (for Modest Mouse anyway), while “Steam Eugenius” is practically jovial. “Spitting Venom” is an 8-minute western-inspired epic which took me a few listens to get into but has since become one of my top three MM tunes. “People As Places As People” is another solid MM stable tune, and “Invisible” drives the whole thing home with aggression and anticipation.
Expectations are that a new album will be in the offing late this year.