The only real problem with Modest Mouse’s latest EP is that it’s not a full length album. Fortunately, there’s enough substance to bide fans over until the band releases a proper length album.
No One’s First and You’re Next, released August 4th, contains just eight unreleased tracks and B-sides from the band’s previous two studio albums, Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004) and We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (2007).
The albums first two tracks, “Satellite Skin” and “Guilty Cocker Spaniels,” have already been released as 7” vinyl single.
Deceased actor Heath Ledger directed the music video for “King Rat” (track seven). That video was released simultaneously with the album.
As you might expect from an EP containing unused material, No One’s First and You’re Next doesn’t move the band forward. No new ground is broken here. However, it’s still a very good collection of songs.
“Satellite Skin” is not only the album’s first track it’s also the album’s best track. It has a great melody, a toe-tapping beat and a catchy guitar riff. This song will get a lot of plays in your ITunes.
Quintessential MM can be heard in “Guilty Cocker Spaniels.” Isaac Brock starts off with his patented blue-grass rapping then dazzles us with his lithe crooning. This track is heavy with sound as well as complex instrumentations. Bottom line, it’s a really cool song.
“Autumn Beds” contains a playful banjo riff with an infectious beat. Brock’s singing is tender and expressive. This mid-tempo number is one of the album’s best written songs which means you might find it hard to get the chorus out of your brain.
The first couple minutes of “Whale Song” reminds Land of Punt of vintage Cure. This is a rather a dour song though that maybe a few minutes too long (the song times out over six minutes). Still, it’s a nice change of pace from the songs that immediately precede and follow it.
“Perpetual Motion Machine” sounds like a homage to either Kurt Weill or Tom Waits. Sounding like it’s off key or at least out of tune (in a good way), “Perpetual Motion Machine” is a pithy song that’s a lot of fun.
The next song has the album’s best title, “History Sticks To Your Feet.” This well written ditty features a somewhat subdued Brock singing over a nasty guitar riff (nasty as in good). As the song lingers, both Brock and the riff pick up steam and some angst. The result is a satisfying musical odyssey.
“King Rat” contains quintessential Modest Mouse “plucking” as well as some strings and some horns. Brock sings a story over a churning, snare-snapping groove. This song belongs in the same category as “Whale Song.”
The album concludes with “I’ve Got it All (Most).” This is a funky little tune that has Brock breaking out his falsetto voice. It’s very well written, interesting and up tempo. It’s a nice way to finish the collection.
Everyone’s favorite band from Issaquah, Washington has released a solid EP. The songs are well-written, the lyrics are thoughtful, the music is intricate and performances are quite adroit.
For six bucks (list price on Amazon) it’s a bargain for both hardcore and casuals “Mousers.” To pay any more than that, Modest Mouse should be one of your favorite bands.