Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
All four members of American indie rock band Modest Mouse have been together fourteen years. They were all in their teens when they formed. At the moment the band are one of the main attractions on the Lollapalooza tour. The single "Float On" which was a hit in their own country has had heavy rotation on MTV, but will Great Britain embrace Modest Mouse as much as good ol' Uncle Sam?
"Good News For People Who Love Bad News" is MM's fourth studio album and as someone unfamiliar with their work I can best describe them as an acquired taste. "The World At Large" has a very deep south type vocal from frontman and songwriter Isaac Brock. I thought the slow build up to the song would gather momentum but it fails to really get going. The gentle guitar strum is pleasing to the ear and the orchestral touches add to the overall quirkiness. Lyrically the song is all about moving on and making a fresh start. Its certainly very catchy and unusual with a certain charm, but lacks an emotional punch by failing to fully engage. A much more enjoyable track is "Oceans Breathe Sally". Atmospheric guitars with a mellow mood of utter contentment. this has a sense of humour shared by the likes of Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants. Thankfully they don't resort to the nerdy antics of Wheatus (heaven forbid) but stay on the right side of appealing eccentricity.
On "Bukowski" we hear some wonderful banjo, double bass and accordion playing on this curious folk infused song. It is genuinely unsettling with bitter lyrics but does try the patient a little with it's one dimensional repetitiveness. "Blame It On The Tetons" has a raspy, throaty vocal which is dominated by piano and guitar. This has leanings towards lo-fi country with amusing lyrics like "language is for liquid that we're all dissolved in". Showing great imagination with Tom Peloso superbly mastering the fiddle.
Throughout these sixteen tracks Modest Mouse show a wide range of variety and eclecticism but may be too off the wall and left of centre to really maintain commercial success for their UK audience. As a cult act with promise though Modest Mouse could do a lot worse than gradually build a fanbase.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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