Modest Mouse

Strangers to Ourselves

Epic

Mar 17, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Modest Mouse return from years of silence with maturity and sophistication, but maintain their established patterns of building worlds within their songs. Strangers to Ourselves is an album noticeably moodier than their groundbreaking '00s output. Not that the indie trailblazers have ever been cheerful, but surely there is a pragmatic optimism behind songs like "Float On," or "Fire It Up." 

The album's lead single, "Lampshade on Fire," is a fair representation of the darker tone, even paired with a familiar dance-centric indie groove. Strangers to Ourselves is more serious than 2007's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, or 2004's Good News for People Who Love Bad News, but makes good use of the exploration and experimentation those albums produced. Strangers doesn't bother with the unfamiliar in the way that previous Modest Mouse albums would, with the exception of "Pistol (A Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996)," which takes the furthest outward step, but never really lands.

All of the familiar flourishes of Isaac Brock's emotional grunts and bendy guitar riffs exist, but they are more subdued, content to serve the work as a whole. That's the biggest difference between Strangers and We Were Dead; Brock and company seem content with a homogenized vision. Strangers is a denser album that is unmistakably Modest Mouse, but with songs that fit within an established framework and vibe. The title track is the most subdued opening track on a Modest Mouse album, even more than 1996's "Dramamine." God, it is beautiful though.

Speaking of patterns, in true Modest Mouse fashion, the third act carries some of the album's best moments. There are always good surprises buried into some prog-esque songs for those who stick it out to the final track, and Strangers is no different. "Be Brave" is about as strong as this album gets, and "Of Course" is a satisfying finish. They never quite hit the peaks of their last two albums, but the result is ultimately a more even experience. (www.modestmouse.com)

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Brittany
March 17th 2015
7:59pm

Obsessed with Strangers to Ourselves! You can stream it on Spotify, so you have no excuse to not listen to it.

https://open.spotify.com/album/6iKqPv9C5oU29LR82N8lJf