After a wait of eight years, Modest Mouse (MM) has returned with a new album; Strangers to Ourselves was worth the wait. Sure, that’s just my opinion and I don’t get paid to trash every artist and their albums, so take my word with a grain of salt. Let me be the first to tell you that Strangers to Ourselves sounds nothing like their earliest of works. Why should it? It’s been 22 years since This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About was released. Did you really expect them to have the same sound and mentality that they had in 1996?
Nevertheless this album brings us a new track-list of 15 tracks. With that being said I don’t want to be that person who worships a band unconditionally so I will go through what I liked, loved and hated on this album. We can reminisce about old albums and tracks and find the new tracks that give us the same feel. Modest Mouse was once a trio that consisted of Issac Brock, Jeremiah Green and Eric Judy. Judy has since departed (sometime in 2012) tears I know; get over it. Although, Eric Judy is perhaps one of the best bassist in the alternative/indie business, we have to let go and continue with the growth of the band, one he contributed to for years. Since his departure the band has been filled with more band members adding depth to their respective instruments. Some may love that and others will hate and compare them to bands like Arcade Fire, having full orchestras on stage.
It has become custom for so-called “music critics” to trash anyone for changing the feel of their music and I want to throw something out there. The albums’ name comes from the title of the opening track and a line of their new song ‘The Tortoise And The Tourist.” On this album MM did something I haven’t seen in quite a while, they released a third of their album as singles. I think that has to do with the extremely long hiatus. The song that most people will enjoy will probably be “Lampshades on Fire” it somewhat reminds me of the poppy song that is “Float On” not that there is anything wrong with it, I just rank other songs and albums. Besides that there are songs like “Coyotes” and “The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box” that give us the same vibe that came off of The Lonesome Crowded West with a mix sounds off of albums like Good News For People Who Love Bad News and We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.
Besides that my personal favorites of this album have alternated throughout the week with the front runners today being “Sh*t In Your Cut” and “Pups to Dust.” I also enjoy the carnival horn packed song that is “Sugar Boats” and the opening track “Stranger to Ourselves.” The worst song of this album hands down had to be “Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996.)” It was just too weird for my taste as I’m sure it is for others. Ladies and Gentlemen I highly recommend you give this album a chance as it easily one of the most anticipated albums in almost a decade. Do not take my word for it but I think this album deserves a listen and by that I mean a straight listen of the album (two or three times and then shuffle.) There are jewels in this album go out and find them!
Mario is a DJ with KSSU Sacramento State’s only student run radio station.