Modest Mouse is an alt/rock band that has been making music since the early 90's. They have released several albums and I own four of them. Although The Moon & Antarctica is a great album, it is my second favorite Modest Mouse album behind The Lonesome Crowded West. Modest Mouse can be dark and moody, and they can be hard rocking and raw. The Moon & Antarctica shows there moody and dark side most of the time. Although I didn't like this album at first, it really grew on me. I always thought of Modest Mouse as more of a rock band, but after this album I think of them as an indie-rock and alt/rock band. This album features some soft moody tunes, folk songs, and some hard rocking tracks. Modest Mouse really makes you think, Isaac Brocks lyrics are amazing. The Moon & Antarctica won't disappoint those who want some soft, moody, indie-rock mixed in with a few hard rocking songs.
TM&A shows quite a bit of range. Modest Mouse go's from moody, dark, soft tracks to hard rocking songs that get you pumped up. However if you want a more raw Modest Mouse album try The Lonesome Crowded West. The first two tracks of the album "3rd Planet" and "Gravity Rides Everyting" are two catchy, smart, actoustic tracks, they are simply beautiful. After this "Dark Center Of The Universe" comes in, it has some soft ambient parts, and then the song explodes and Modest Mouse completely rocks out. "Paper Thin Walls" and "Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes" are also two hard rocking tracks that will get you singing along instantly. "Lives" is even a folk influenced tune that is very dark and dreary. My personal favorite track would have to be "I Came As A Rat" just because it is hard-rocking for the first two minutes, and then it gets quiet and soft for the last two minutes. Most of these songs are very well done put together well. TM&A slows down on the 8th and 9th track. "Alone Down There" is very depressing and it slows down the pace of the album. After this is "The Stars Are Projecters" an eight and a half minute track that is really well done, except it is just to long and Isaac Brock ruins it with his whiney vocals. These two songs combine to be 10:58 and it really slows the album down. TM&A is a dark, angst-ridden album for the most part, but Modest Mouse might suprise you with some hard rocking tunes.
Isaac Brocks vocals are another key to Modest Mouse. I know a few people who absoluetely dispise his vocals, so I would download a few tracks before purchasing this.I admit, Brocks vocals can really piss me off a few times. In "The Stars Are Projecters" the first 1:45 is the best music on this album. Unfortunately Brock comes in with his whiney vocals and ruins things when signing "And the stars are projecters YEAH." For the most part I find his vocals to be good, and it goes well with the dreary sound of some of these songs. On the soft songs his vocals are decent in most cases, but sometimes he does get whiney. In the more hard rocking songs I find his vocals to be surprisingly energetic and entertaining. When Brock screams into the microphone his vocals are loud and fuzzy. This may annoy some listeners who want more of a atmospheric sound, but I must admit that the hard rocking parts save this album from being a bore. While TM&A may seem dull and depressing, the hard rockers mix in well with the more dark and atmospheric tracks.
Modest Mouse use a lot of instruments. There are only three members in the band, but on almost every song there is a guest member playing an additional instrument. Violins, extra guitars, banjos, and keyboards are some extra instruments thrown into the mix. These extra instruments are a big part of the music, especially the violins. The violins are most apparent in "The Cold Part" and "Dark Center Of The Universe", this is where the violin playing shines. The keyboards are a small part of the music, they add a little bit of backround sound, but overall they are hard to hear unless you are really focusing on the music. Most of these tracks are powered by guitars, and percussion, but without the violins this album would lose it's edge and be just an uninteresting album. Instrumentaly TM&A is excellent, there are few flaws, if any. This album features great guitar and violin playing, these instruments mixed with bass and percussion make TM&A a memorable album.
If you are new to Modest Mouse I would start with "Good New For People Who Love Bad News" or "The Lonesome Crowded West" before purchasing this. TM&A is hard to get into, and you will have to give it some time to grow on you. This album is a lot more atmospheric, dark, dreary, and depressing than all other Modest Mouse releases. Although this album dark and dreary it also has it's rock moments. At first I didn't like the atmospheric tracks and I only liked the more rock based track. After a few listens a started to get that this album is different from all other Modest Mouse albums. While this album is less upbeat than other Modest Mouse releases, I really started thinking about the music. Throughout the dark dreary moments of this album it is balanced almost perfectly with the hard rocking tracks. The only flaw Modest Mouse made was when they put "Alone Down There" and "The Stars Are Projects" back to back. Once again this slows down the album and it's just a bore. TM&A is a dark, dreary, reflective album, but the heavier tracks keep things from being a bore, and it makes this album a perfect balance of music.
The lyrics are also a high point of this album. Brock's lyrics are hard to desipher and I still can't figure out what these lyrics are trying to tell me in some of these songs. Take the song "Lives" for examples. I thought this song was an average track until I listened intently to the lyrics. The line "God is a woman and my mom she is a witch." is pure greatness. The lyrics really make you think and they fit perfectly with the music. Although the lyrics are amazing in most cases it can't save some of the more boring tracks. "3rd Planet" and "Gravity Rides Everything" are two amazing songs musically and lyrically. The thing is that you can listen to the music for just the musicical parts and still be satisfied, but once you start listening to the lyrics you will be even more amazed. If you want an album that will challenge you lyrically than The Moon and Antarctica is the album for you.
This album is excellent. It isn't my favorite Modest Mouse album but that still doesn't mean it isn't an excellent album. This album is amazing musically, and lyrically. Unfortunately there are a few flaws, and these flaws are costly because they really slow down the album and keep it from being a classic. TM&A is a great album for those who want something dark, dreary, atmospheric, angst-ridden, energetic, depressing, and reflective. I'm not a fan of really depressing and dark music so don't be scared away when I say depressing. This album has great replay value. I bought this a year ago and I still find myself listening to this today. The Moon & Antarctica may be forgotten because of its dullness, but if you interested in this type of music you will never forget it. This is a very strong album that should never be forgotten.
Isaac Brock - vocals, guitars
Jeremiah Green - drums
Eric Judy - bass
Album Art - http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00004TTCJ.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg
Dark, Atmospheric tracks
Long mid section
Vocals may annoy some people
Recomended Tracks :
"Gravity Rides Everything"
"Dark Center Of The Universe"
"I Came As A Rat"
"Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes"