Have you ever listened to an album from a previously enjoyed band and finished listening extremely disappointed? Everything the recommendations and other songs from the band has disappeared, and now all that remains is displeasing music going through your ears. That, for me, is Modest Mouse's The Fruit That Ate Itself. After hearing the catchy, fun singles of Float On and Ocean Breathes Salty, among other songs, I went about getting some Modest Mouse. For some reason I explored this EP, and came away extremely disappointed.
Modest Mouse is:
Isaac Brock- Vocals, Guitar
Eric Judy- Bass
Jeremiah Green- Drums
The three piece band Modest Mouse made more than a modest success (lame) with The Moon and Antarctica then later Good News for People Who Love Bad News. However, The Fruit That Ate Itself is before this success. This is just a band making music and trying to make it to the big time. The Lonesome Crowded West, the release before this, formed a bit of a cult following for the band but nothing like what would come with their major label debut. The Fruit That Ate Itself is a 9 track, 20 minute EP of somewhat uninspired, terribly produced music that Modest Mouse should be able to do better with.
The music features raw, edgy guitars, the unique voice of Isaac Brock, and great drum beats from Jeremiah Green. The only problem here is that nothing is in tune. Isaac sounds out of tune with the guitar, the guitar sounds out of tune with the bass, and all in all it just bugs the listener all the way through. Regarding the vocals, the lyrics are nothing special and sometimes Isaac makes his situation worse by screaming in spots that screaming doesn't fit. If any vocal harmonies come across, they are even more horrendous. The guitar riffs sound very similar- clean, groovy riffs. One thing worth praising is that the band makes some great grooves in these songs. The bass, although not quite in tune, makes some great baselines, especially on the title track. The standout musician on the album, however, is Jeremiah Green. The drums are not quite mixed where they should be, sounding a bit too live for my tastes, but he makes some creative drum beats that still maintain the energy of the music. Also worth noting are some experimental sub 1 minute songs, which take tracks from other songs on the EP and plays them backwards and puts other effects on them.
Upon getting used to this somewhat annoying raw sound, some alright tracks are on this album, most noticeably Summer. Summer starts with a high hat sixteenth beat and a funky guitar strumming pattern. Isaac begins to sing, and the tuning isn't all that bad. However, his voice dies out at the end of phrases. After Isaac sings a verse, he takes a solo with the guitar. The solo isn't bad, although it really only revolves around one main melodic idea. A paging sound comes across as the guitar returns to the main strumming pattern. Isaac, faintly, says "Who's pagin' me now?" giving the song a bit of a feel-good, careless tone about it. The bass line jumps around, somewhat ambiguously, but it adds a new dimension to the song. The song repeats around this guitar solo-verse format. The outro is everything dropped out except the guitar.
Modest Mouse's EP never gained any sort of recognition for anything, and probably for good reason. The band has done better, for sure, and they evolved throughout time to become a fun, catchy, and original band. This EP is nothing but a small little footnote in the band's 12 year history, and the band is only reaching new heights.
Tracks showcasing the bad:
Tracks showcasing some of the good:
The Fruit That Ate Itself