If Modest Mouse were actually a sort of rodent, I'm sure they would be the runt of the family. They would be the little mouse that takes Ritalin, but it never really helps him out, so he goes around all day spazzing out and running around in circles while the rest of the quaint little mice nibble on their dairy product and scamper about playfully before a sinisted cat comes to rape them of their existence and destroy their lives. Modest Mouse were the crowned princes of indie rock, and I guess you could say that they still are. Their popularity has grown by leaps and bounds since the releases of albums such as The Moon & Antarctica
and their most recent, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
. Critics have praised the latter as as a cohesive album, where the band becomes a finely tuned machine; producing well-crafted and melodic songs with little doses of peculiarity every so often. "Float On" was even a modest "hit" in the United States, probably the first instance of people even knowing of the band.
Sometimes, I tend to think that the title is a reference to the album itself. Good News for People Who Love Bad News
is an uneven, hit and miss album. One moment, there will be a pure gem, and the next, there will be a boring, uninspired tune that can put you to sleep in a matter of seconds. Isaac Brock's trademark yelp helps in no way in the context of some of the songs. His constant drunken shouting in "Dancehall," overtop a boring, chaotic mess of what you might call music, provides the best example of just pure drudge. Filler tracks like the thirteen second "Dig Your Grave" and the the pump organ driven, French-sounding "Interlude (Milo)," though obviously serving as bridges between certain points in the album, somehow feel largely pointless in their execution, especially the former. The whole latter half of the album is average at best, with boring arrangements hampering what could
be good songs. "Blame it on the Tetons" suffers from it's 5 minute length, dragging on the whole time. If it happened to be a bit shorter, it could possibly run for one of the best songs on the album.
When Modest Mouse happen to strike gold, though, it is definately a worthwile experience. "Float On" stomps out in a rather funky manner, providing an upbeat backdrop for the upbeat lyrics. The song is preluded and followed by two dreary, though still good songs. "The View" thumps away at a danceable pace, while "Satin in a Coffin" nihilistically thrashes away at the you, proving to be enjoyable, despite a dry lyric or two. "One Chance" and "The Good Times Are Killing Me" provide a somewhat upbeat ending to what seems to be a rather depressing, almost angst-filled album. "Once Chance," especially, with it's melodic bass lines and atmospherica guitar playing, proves to be a good effort, though not something spectacular. And that's what this album seems to suffer from. Most of the songs here would be good songs, but there always seems to be something that hampers or ruins them, making them come off as boring and lazy, with no real power or excitement put into them at all.
"The World at Large"
"Satin in a Coffin"
"The Good Times Are Killing Me"