Monday, May 4, 2015

Modest Mouse - Strangers To Ourselves 2xLP


Epic (2015)

This will wrap up Modest Mouse Monday for at least a couple of weeks I think.  Though I have two more reissues ordered, they're coming from the UK and haven't shipped yet.  It's unlikely they'll arrive before next Monday, but I guess we'll see.  The last few weeks of Modest Mouse reviews have been building towards their new album, Strangers to Ourselves.  I wouldn't call it my favorite of all Modest Muse records, but I still like it quite a bit.

I've read some very odd reviews of this album the past month or so.  It seems that a lot of music writers are surprised by the fact that Modest Mouse put out a record that sounds like a Modest Mouse album.  I can't say that I really know what they were expecting, but if you typically like Modest Mouse, I have a hard time seeing how you wouldn't like Strangers To Ourselves as well.

It starts off with a super strong one-two punch, beginning with the slower, string accompanied title track "Strangers To Ourselves."  It's a gradual builder and I think it works great as an album opener, gently bringing you back into the world of Isaac Brock and company.  That leads to the bouncy, explosive and easily my favorite song on the record, "Lampshades Of Fire."  To me, this is just a quintessential fun Modest Mouse song with lots of strong drumming and "ba ba ba's" to go along with Isaac's trademark yelped vocals. 

The album isn't perfect, as shown by perhaps the worst song that Modest Mouse has ever written "Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996)."  The one dimensional drum beat doesn't kill the song, but the vocal inflection that Isaac chooses to deliver the lyrics with is, for the lack of a better word, simply stupid.  I can't fathom what sort of fever dream would make someone intentionally sing a song like this.  It's just terrible.  I'm also not a particularly big fan of "The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box."  This song has too many sound 1980's sounding effects for me.  It's a throw back to an era where I think the worst music was made.

Still, these are two missteps on an otherwise very strong record.  I can't see this being to sort of record that will win you over if you don't like Modest Mouse already.  But if you are a fan, I also can't really see how you would have all that much to complain about.  Modest Mouse made a Modest Mouse record.  What else did you expect them to do?

Modest Mouse - "Strangers To Ourselves":

Modest Mouse - "Lampshades On Fire":

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