Saturday, March 12, 2005

Review: Modest Mouse, Good News For People Who Love Bad News

I tried to jump on the Modest Mouse bandwagon early on, but just couldn't get into these guys. Yes, on paper they sound like they should appeal to the indie rocker longing for the days of Pavement, but something about them -- and maybe it's as simple as the fairly unappealing vocals -- just put me off.

Then they had to go and release what was far and away the best single of 2004, "Float On." Let's be serious, can there be a better almost-radio-friendly indie pop/rock song then this? Insanely catchy riff that sticks in your brain like yesterday's oatmeal -- check. Sing-along chorus -- check. Lyrics reeking of a slacker anthem in the making -- check. Hell, there's even a wicked-cool MTV video, just like in the old days when MTV actually showed videos instead of brain damaged teenagers frolicking on the beach. So I had to buy the disc. And is the rest as good as "Float On"?

Well, no. Of course not. There are maybe a half dozen songs that are pretty decent, though -- one placed snugly on either side of "Float On" (most notably the lead-in "The World At Large," which is essentially a slowed-down intro to "Float On") and a few others later on. Then there's a whole bunch of whacked-out wiggy stuff that comes across like a deranged stepchild of Captain Beefheart by way of the Pixies. Which is ok if you're into that sort of thing, and sometimes I am, but it also gets a tad annoying at times. But hit the skip button and something better is around the corner. So overall I can't heartily recommend this if you already have "Float On" somewhere else. But it's not bad.

Check out some samples at


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