Modest Mouse, “Strangers to Ourselves”

Modest_Mouse-2015-Strangers_to_Ourselves_Cover_ArtModest Mouse
Strangers to Ourselves
EPIC
7/10 

Strangers to Ourselves is an appropriate title for Modest Mouse’s new album. On the one hand, it’s familiar and recognizable, as if the band hasn’t missed a beat in the nearly eight years since their last album. On the other hand, it doesn’t entirely follow the mainstream, radio-pop trajectory that the band seemed to be set to follow after the success of “Float On” and the rest of Good News for People Who Love Bad News. Instead, Strangers seems to recapture a bit of the rough and uneven songwriting of their earliest songs, even if the production is still fairly polished. Overall, the album seems fairly unified, despite a track reminiscent of Isaac Brock’s side project Ugly Casanova (“God Is an Indian and You’re an Asshole”), and another that seems to be channeling Ween (“Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996)”).  The album begins with the title track—a quiet number with a measured pace and a string arrangement that contrasts with the jaunty, warbling guitars and vocals fans have grown to expect from Modest Mouse. There may not be anything truly revolutionary on the album, and none of the tracks stand out as destined for TV commercials and film trailers, but for fans who’ve waited for new music from Modest Mouse, this is a solid and satisfying addition to the band’s catalogue.

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