Let me just preface this by saying this review might seem a little negative but that’s only in comparison to the band’s other now legendary early work. After an eight year absence, Modest Mouse finally returns with their latest album, Strangers to Ourselves, and while there is plenty to like about this album, it does feel a little too safe for my taste. It sounds like Modest Mouse on autopilot. Everything one would expect them to do they’ve done. This album could be considered an amalgamation of their last two albums, Half the tracks have the light and dancy feel of We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank and the pop craftsmanship from Good News For People Who Love Bad News.
However, this is still Modest Mouse so there’s plenty to like from this album. Most of my favorite tracks from the album are the slower more contemplative ones like “Ansel” and “Coyotes.” On these tracks, Isaac Brock’s lyrics really shine through and avoid the problems of the other tracks. “Ansel,” in particular, is a stand out track and one of the few that sounds inspired. Another of the more interesting tracks on the album would be “Sugar Boats,” which has this wild circus styled instrumentation and is reminiscent of something that Tom Waits might have done on Rain Dogs.
On the whole, if you’re a Modest Mouse fan you’ll find at least a few tracks to enjoy on here. While my high expectations for this album may not have been met, I do think this album is worth a few listens and tracks like “Sugar Boats” sound like they would be amazing to hear live.
Recommended If You Like: Built to Spill, Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie
Recommended Tracks: 5 (Ansel), 8 (Pups to Dust), 7 (Coyotes), 1 (Strangers to Ourselves), 9 (Sugar Boats), 2 (Lampshades On Fire)
Do Not Play: 3 (Sh*t In Your Cut), 11 (Be Brave), 12 (God Is An Indian and You’re An A**hole), 14 (The Best Room)
Written by Jake Waters on 04/09/2015