Sympathetic Stupid

Monday, August 01, 2005

Modest Mouse: Good News For People Who Love Bad News

JB had done it again when I saw the latest Modest Mouse album for just $12. I've liked these guys ever since Nick slung me a couple of tracks from this album, so I thought it was a prudent purchase.

Well, it turns out I'd already heard the three best tracks, but it's still a good album. I think of the band as being happy-sounding; it's probably the unconventional vocals. But the first track The World At Large has one of the most poignant feels of any track I've really heard. It becomes apparent why this is on a glance at the lyrics. It's about a drifter who starts again in a new place every season. The philosophical lyrics seem to catch modern life perfectly: 'still haven't gotten anywhere that I want', 'I didn't know what I had that day', and the closer 'I know that starting over is not what life's about, but my thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth' speaks of a sensibility very similar to my own.

I liked it, anyway.

So that's a great track, but I'm in pain. The follow-up, Float On, picks me back up and inserts me back into life. It's a big anthemic, bouncy sort of drug, with exuberant vocals and a big lush arrangement. Classic track.

And so we're 8 minutes in. The quality inevitably retreats from this high. The other standout on the album is Bukowski, about a great American poet, who I'd previously never heard of. Thankfully, Mouse is there to edify me. The rest of the tracks seem background music, on just a few listens. Give them time, though.

Good album. There's a small chance I'll buy more Modest Mouse.