Album Review: Modest Mouse’s Strangers to Ourselves

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For Fans Of: Spoon, Animal Collective, The White Stripes, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie

Review by Daniel Lockwood

After a worrisome 8 year absence, Modest Mouse, fortunately, are most definitely still Modest Mouse. Unfortunately, they seem to be running out of steam. Isaac Brock is already a complicated enough individual, intriguingly so, perhaps as a rock star should be. During the process, the band has scrapped whole albums worth of material and lost an original member of the band. And yet, the Modest Mouse train is attempting to run at full steam, and no song is better example of that than the song”The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box” from their new

Modest Mouse begins this album like most with a haunting bittersweet lullaby. The title track “Strangers To Ourselves” is even a bit more beautiful than we are used to. The single, “Lampshades On Fire”, is a good single but not as good as 6 or 7 songs from We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. “Pistol” is the oddest song I have ever heard from Modest Mouse, and frankly am surprised it ended up on the album. It would probably have a better home on a Ween album (RIP), but might be a powerful live song. Ansel is probably the best song on the album, and the quality Modest Mouse we have become accustomed to. “Coyotes” and “Pups to Dust” stay in the same quality slow jams that Ansel brought forth. “Sugar Boats” is a Modest Mouse circus jam that sounds like a cut from We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. The fact that I have to use the term Modest Mouse as an adjective is a testament to the originality of the band.

This album like We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank gets a little cluttered running long with 15 tracks. One might get the impression they had a lot of material and slapped it together no matter the quality or consistency. Despite my criticisms, this is still very good quality Modest Mouse. It is just not the every song is a hit album that we got from We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. And it’s not going to bring them a new legion of fans the way “Float On” did either.

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