Review Summary: So long to that cold, cold part of the world.
You really have to hand it to Modest Mouse. Starting as an incredibly weird and spastically energetic indie rock band, they had in 2000 somehow gained a spot on a major label, remaining the same incredibly weird and idiosyncratic band Right off the bat of being accepted to a major label, the band then released The Moon & Antarctica, which endured the backlash many left-field classics must, and is now cited as a landmark album along with the likes of Radiohead's Ok Computer.
That Issac Brock and Co. would choose to make their strangest and most fearless album after moving to a major label is also admirable, but the album has a feeling that is almost mythical; it's an album that builds itself and tears itself down, sinister and mercurial one moment and then startlingly brash and blunt the next, and it always sounds imminent, like every piece wasn't composed to fit into a perfect whole but through the circular swirl of sounds and moods ends up sounding exemplary in control and atmosphere. The way that songs drift from their realms of melancholy and moody acoustics and bizarre production to crystal clear storms of introspective fury is wholly engaging and moving, exciting and vital . Listening to the album is to listen to the sound of a band staring death starkly in the face, confusing the difference between the afterlife and space because there is no difference if we're always alone, always isolated, always caught up in our own personal "hell from the inside." The Moon & Antarctica isn't just a great rock album, or a landmark piece of music. With this, Modest Mouse made a work of art, a statement. The Moon and Antarctica are the same place, cold and distant, but humanity lives in both parts of that world, and Modest Mouse, through 15 tracks of life-questioning and life-affirming music, tells you how it is to be alone down there.