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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 3 September 2017
Exceptional as always
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Look over the glaciers at the cold night sky, sparkling with stars and with a huge full moon overhead. Then imagine the aurora rising up and distorting the night with its raw beauty. That's Modest Mouse's "Moon and Antarctica," the 2000 album that took them from a merely talented indie band into full-blown brilliance -- exquisite, strange, and chilly.

The distant, rat-a-tatting rock of "3rd Planet" kicks off the enticingly surreal album with lines like "The universe is shaped exactly like the earth if you go/straight long enough you'll end up where you were." This meditation on the universe stretches over the album, with the warm, mildly achy "Gravity Rides Everything," which sounds like the Beatles got slightly depressed.

Things grow darker with the warped, snarling "Different City" and saddening "Perfect Disguise," finally settling on even ground with the folkish "Lives," and the sweeping, magnificent soundscapes of a three-song cycle starting with "Cold Part." Unfortunately, the album is then saddled with "Life Like Weeds" (pretty, but it feels tacked on) and the jarring, raw "What People Are Made Of," which barely seems like the same band.

"Moon and Antarctica" is the sort of music that is like looking through a telescope with an iridescent lens. You not only look at things, but they seem to change in an appealing way. The extra tracks are something of a disappointment, however -- they don't have the dark sparkle of the original album, and there aren't very many extras.

The lyrics have the quality of space poetry, very offbeat and not quite connected with the everyday world. They're a little frightening with their exploration of anger, loneliness and misery, but also quite beautiful in their brushes by the very edges of the universe (try listening to this while looking at fractal pictures), and the evocative wording ("And right after I die the dogs start floating up towards the glowing sky").

Fortunately, Modest Mouse doesn't include just the usual guitar-bass-drums riffs. That would be doing an injustice to the music they put out. Forming parts of the smooth music are violins, electronic stretches and a sort of unique sound that brings to mind "Pink Floyd doing folk." Isaac Brock's thin voice always has a sort of distant quality. It's not really a GOOD voice, but like the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, it's an integral part of the music itself.

Edgy, beautiful, melancholy, dark and spacey, "The Moon and Antarctica" is deserving of loads of listens -- and ten years hasn't dulled its beauty.
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on 6 August 2001
Modest Mouse have produced what should be classed a modern masterpeice with The Moon and Antarctica. The themes of emptyness and bleakness from previous albums has moved into the greater scale with this effort as their more expansive sound allows the band, mainly Issac's guitar sounds being twisted, which sucks you into there music even more than before. Most songs start with thin sounding guitar picking with delay and reverb, haunting melodies leading into Issac's biting vocals as the the drums rummble in with unorthadox rythms along with the bass. Some songs include violin which adds to epicness of Dark Center Of The Universe, The Cold Part and The Stars Are Projectors. Taking the first song the lyrics, "The universe is shaped exactly like the earth, if you go straight along enough you'll end up where you were" and "Everything that keeps them together is fallng apart, I got this thing i consider my only art of fucking people over" shows Issac's self bitterness and the themes of the album. The beck style Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes with its thumping bass line and electronic influences is a suprise first time round but is excellent. It merges into the biting and vicous intro to A Different City, a favorite off the album and similar to their earlier work. This is a true indie rock song and continues the speed of the first section of the CD until The Cold Part ebbs in and pulls you back down into your chair. The slower melodic section of the CD starts from this song until the epic Stars....soars in. The beauty of that songs seems to last forever until the little acoustic dittie Wild Pack Of Family Dogs makes you both laugh a little and think alot about its meaningful lyrics. The final songs on the album are excellent with mellow songs up until the final track which shakes you awake just as you are falling asleep. I havent found an album as good as this in a long while and is highly recommended. Genious lyrics and a fantasic mix of distored, folky and delayed guitar with excellent drumming make this one of my favourite albums.
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on 11 December 2000
Modest Mouse are undoubtedly one of the most important bands to come out of the U.S recently, providing hope after the saturation of the industry with the meaningless sell-out pulp of Limp Bizkit and Slipknot. Modest Mouse have constructed sheer beauty in 'The Moon and Antartica', describing not only their angst and disillusion with western plastic culture, but the undeniable beauty and magic that is still present in life, if we could all but catch it and hold on to it all for a while. This album is a universal work of cool importance that should be enjoyed everywhere.
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on 27 May 2005
Having only recently discovered Modest Mouse, I can honestly say that already I cannot imagine my C.D. collection without them. This album in particular is simply stunning. There is an incredible range of cutting, catchy, edgy and down-right bizarre guitar riffs, accompanied by foot-stomping drums and all held together beautifully by the always emotive, occasionally deranged vocals of Brock. It is difficult to pick out individual highlights, quite simply it starts great, ends great and has a great bit in between! What's more it sits together perfectly not just as a collection of songs, but as a complete musical experience. It takes you on a magical ride from the head banging "tiny cities made of ashes" to the eerie "the cold part" the catchy acoustic "paper thin walls" and the raw breakdown emotion of "lives". There is something to love and admire in every track, and also plenty of thought provoking images courtesy of some purposeful lyrics. This is experimental, alternative, guitar driven rock at it's best!
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on 11 March 2014
An absolute classic from Modest Mouse.
Would recommend to people who already love Modest Mouse - It's probably not the first album you should listen to from their discography, if you are not all ready familiar with the band.

It's a bit of a shame that it's not a gatefold - but that's very subjective, and does not affect my rating, which is based solely off of the music from the album.
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on 11 September 2016
Thoughtful rock with an acoustic feeling to it. The main vocalist reminds me a little of a young Neil Young. No idea why they are modest. ​
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on 24 June 2013
It's probably the album that deviates most from their signature sound, but there's no surprise as to why it's a fan favourite.
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on 20 August 2014
Def one of my top 3 modest mouse albams
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on 8 January 2001
Having read several reviews of this album, all proclaiming it the 'Next Big Thing', I bought it expecting something hugely innovative and knee-weakeningly beautiful. I didn't get this (do you ever?), but what i did get was a slightly quirky collection of largely excellent songs, marred very occasionally by slightly pretentious lyrics, but musically lovely, excepting a smattering of slightly over-punky moments in which the band resort to three chords and two notes. These are few and far between, though, and this band are certainly ones to watch... when they grow up a bit in about a year's time, get ready to be absolutely stunned.
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