on 1 August 2009
Modest Mouse's new EP, featuring unreleased tracks and B-sides from their last two albums. Very much in the style of their later albums, this EP is far from a classic. It does, however, have enough material and good tracks that it will be enjoyed by most fans of the band without ever being a 'must-have' record.
Perpetual Motion Machine is an early favourite, featuring interesting, vaguely philosophical lyrics and the kind of jazzy horn vibe evident in many songs on their last album.
Whale Song is another that will certainly grab attention, and probably divide opinions. A nod to the dark, guitar driven efforts on earlier albums, it will appeal more maybe to those who prefer the Moon and Antarctica to We were Dead. For me the strongest on this EP.
This is their first release in 2 years, and while the rest of the songs are not bad; they do not really feel fresh or exciting to me. Although maybe that would be too much to ask for in an EP which is mostly B Sides.
The question for me is whether this EP is an effort at closing off that period in their career so that they can begin afresh with new material, or if it is a sign that the band are running short of ideas.
As a long time modest mouse fan, I sincerely hope (and believe) that it is the former. Bring on the next LP!
Fragments and leftovers and after-thoughts are just fine
when they're as good as the ones to be found on this EP.
I think we could just about call it an album given its
eight tracks and 34 minute or so playing time.
Issac Brock is a canny and inventive writer and performer.
2007's 'We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank' was a hoot.
If you havn't heard it take a brief step back in time to do so,
if only to hear the wonderfully silly 'Fly Trapped In A Jar'.
'No One's Fine, and You're Next' is a perfectly respectable offering.
It stands up on its own two feet with its head held high.
Johnny Marr's presence on 'Satellite Skin' adds just the
right kind of bump and grind to transform a potentially rather
ordinary song into a real front runner. The best kind of boogie.
'Guilty Cocker Spaniels' wins a little silver medal just for the title.
The fragile country hokum of 'Autumn Beds' is cute as tuppence.
The more substantial composition 'The Whale Song' made me laugh
a lot (possibly for all the wrong reasons) but the central guitar
performance vividly conjured up the somewhat surreal image of a
large aquatic mammal squeezed into the studio with the band.
An unintentionally very funny highlight !
The vaudevillian skirmishes of 'Perpetual Motion Machine',
particularly the fruity brass arrangement, would not sound
out of place at a New Orleans funeral. Delightful.
'King Rat', too, has enough loose-limbed energy to keep a small
army of enlightened rodents well-fed for at least a week.
'History Sticks To Your Feet' is my favorite track.
A little bit dirty; a little bit wobbly and all the
more wonderful because of it. My kind of mayhem !
Final track 'I've Got It All (Most)' is an inconclusive,
rough and ready, finale to a blissfully incoherent collection.
It's fresh and fun and fallible and we all need a
little bit of that kind of magic once in a while.
on 21 July 2009
From the various teasers that modest mouse have been releasing on the internet (Satellite Skin, Guilty Cocker Spaniels, Autumn Beds, The Whale Song) to the B-sides of single releases (King Rat, I've got it all(most), None of the songs on this EP are exactly new. However don't let this deter you, this collection is a perfect example of Modest Mouse's versatility. From the cute Banjo ditty of Autumn Beds to the atmospheric jamming qualities of the whale song, Modest Mouse continue to make a polished sound that encompasses all their unique qualities. One focus of this release should be on Brock's lyrics, containing all the usual poetry and wit in which my personal favourite is (Just like me in my own solar system doing good things but totally eclipse them- Satellite Skin0. In Short- It aught to be a very good listen.