It amuses me that someone calls this band 'emo-hardcore-post-grunge-core' in a different review, only to then compare them to Black Sabbath, because that really doesn't help anyone. The reason for this is that there really is no precedent for 'The Lonesome Crowded West', except perhaps other Modest Mouse records.
Modest Mouse, you see, are the type of band that only come along once in a while: a truly unique one. Sure, they've obviously been listening to the Pixies, Guided by Voices, etc. but that doesn't mean they sound anything like them. Modest Mouse are like Radiohead, Pere Ubu or indeed the Pixies in that they seem to care not at all for paying homage to anything that has come before them, establishing a completely new sound. To be honest, I'm actually quite glad Modest Mouse aren't more popular, because else it might catch on like Radiohead and the Pixies did, and then we'd be flooded with cheap Modest Mouse knock-offs, and that would just detract from what is probably the most exciting and interesting band in the last few years.
The Lonesome Crowded West is the sound of a band already at the height of their powers despite only recently having perfected their sound. Some prefer The Moon and Antartica, its follow-up, but I don't. The reason for this is that The Moon and Antartica lacks 'Teeth Like God's Shoeshine', without doubt the most bombastic album opener since... I dunno, 'Bone Machine' on Surfer Rosa, or 'Secrets' from Vs (Mission of Burma). What we're talking about here with 'Teeth' though is an almost perfect song, one which satisfies both the part of your brain that demands something layered and complex and the part that wants to be able shout along as well. Oh, and the part that hates anthems. Yeah, it's brilliant, and so's the whole record, really, just less so. It's a bit like all the other songs are just little bits of 'Teeth' expanded upon into whole songs, although in reality they're almost just as good- the album's not really about songs in the same way a pop album is. All the songs are good, but they work much better as a unified whole (as does Moon And Antartica), except with The Moon And Antartica you have Modest Mouse contemplating all the mysteries of the universe. Here you have them on some sort of roadtrip across the midwest. It's compelling stuff.
It dawns on me that I haven't actually told you much about what Modest Mouse sound like. But I can't. You'll have to hear them to truly know, anyway. All I'm saying is that if you consider yourself as fan of good music- and yes I know pretty much everyone does, but I mean if you really RESPECT your musical taste, then you will love this album. And, if in doubt you can just download a song or two off the internet. It's not hurting anyone if you wouldn't have bought it anyway. Serves them right for not playing it on the radio. But enough complaining about the contradictions present in our attitudes towards intellectual properties in the music business. Here are some instructions to finish: 1. Buy The Lonesome Crowded West. 2. Enjoy.