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Reviews 29/05/2004

Album Of The Week: Modest Mouse

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by Adam (Toronto, Canada) - Each week I preview an album which I think deserves a listen to and if it's worth to buy, I will cater for all tastes of music from R'n'B to Rock, Hip hop and Pop.

Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Release Date: 19 April, 2004

I'll admit it, I was a latecomer to Modest Mouse. My first introduction to Issac Brock's genius was their classic, "The Moon and Antartica", and it changed how I though of music. It's the type of album that has the power to do that sort of thing. Isaac Brock's vocals will create two halfs of individuals, those who love it and those who hate it. Regardless, there is no denying that his voice is something truly original, it's somehthing that can't be taught, just a natural tenor.

Modest Mouse is back after four years with a long awaited follow up. They came out with the EP "Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks" and the singles collection "Sad Sappy Sucker" in 2001, but neither of those discs lived up to albums like "The Moon and Antartica" and "The Lonesome Crowded West". So, in the first half of this decade, it was easy to forget about what a great band Modest Mouse really are. Now, they've finally released a new album, and it serves as a great reminder of how talented Issac Brock is.

"Good News for People Who Love Bad News" starts off in fine form. After a short 'Horn Intro', it moves on to the excellent 'The World at Large', with it's catch "Ba-ba-ba's, and a nice little guitar riff, the kind that Modest Mouse do best. Next is the obvious single, 'Float On'. It's far more poppy than anything they've done in the past, but in this case change is a good thing. It's one of my all time favorites. After that is the second single, 'Ocean Breathes Salty', this is currently my favorite song on the album, with it's blissful, organ driven chorus.

The first section of the album ends with the pointless, twelve second, 'Dig Your Grave'. But the next section starts out as strong as the first on, with a traditional, Modest Mouse rocker, 'Bury Me With It'. Then there's a Tom Waits inspired three song set. Starting out with the insane, freakout, 'Dance Hall', then the slow accoustic, accordian driven, 'Bukowski', which contains some of the best lyrics Brock has ever written, and lastly 'The Devil's Workday'. Despite the obvious Tom Waits influence, these songs still remain stricktly Modest Mouse, and don't rip him off in any way.

The last seven songs contiue, just as strong as the rest of the album, from the uncontrolably catchy, 'The View' to the slow and soft, 'Blame it on the Tetons', and the rocking 'Black Cadillacs'. The album ends on a great note, with fellow vetran indie rockers, the Flaming Lips helping out on 'The Good Times are Killing Me'.

"Float On" is the first single and has seemingly become the anthem for my road trip in Spring Break and future ones too. The track is an unbelievably good song, showcasing Brock's frenetic vocalization and guitar playing as well as his keen but awkward sense of hooky melody. Reminiscent of Talking Heads, than there is "Ocean Breathes Salty", a nice compound of Pixies and Ugly Cassonova.
"Bury me with Me" and "Black Cadillacs" come out rolling with good fun in mind, actually like someone stated earlier, Brock probably would be a nice drinking pal to have. Modest Mouse get closer to their older sound with the "World at Large", calmer yet very serene.
Other highlights: 'The View' and 'World at Large', not really any bad tracks, some kinda bland points, but they grow on you and work well towards the album's overall effect.

The lyrics are somewhat hard to understand. Trying to read the lyrics I got the biggest headache ever, too many repetitive lines my head almost blew up: this is poetry?
I mean that you have to listen to it a few times for it to grow on you, but once it does, you feel good when you're listening to it. Something I also love about this album is that it shows that this band likes making the music they like to make.
They don't feel they have to conform to studioified sounds that are similar to everything else out there. These guys like to experiment with their unique sound and I appreciate it. I haven't heard all their previous releases and cannot make an opinion as far as how it compares with this album, but I do know that I like this sound and I would definitely like to hear it again on another album.

In my opinion, this great band is a nice change in a industry back to the rafters with too many me-toos. If you like Death Cab, The Shins, Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Rilo Kiley and Pixies you'll love this. Even if you are accustomed to only more 'popular' music, I still suggest it. "Good News for People Who Love Bad News" is simply another classic album from Modest Mouse - one of the best albums so far this year...

1. Horn Intro (8/10)
2. The World At Large (9/10)
3. Float On (10/10)
4. Ocean Breathes Salty (10/10)
5. Dig Your Grave (8/10)
6. Bury Me With It (10/10)
7. Dance Hall (9/10)
8. Bukowski (7/10)
9. This Devil's Workday (8/10)
10. The View (9/10)
11. Satin In A Coffin (8/10)
12. Interlude (Milo) (10/10)
13. Blame It On The Tetons (8/10)
14. Black Cadillacs (10/10)
15. One Chance (9/10)
16. The Good Times Are Killing Me (9/10)

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