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Modest Mouse preview

| August 19, 2009

Aragon, Chicago
Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Modest Mouse releases have always come with some deviousness (or deviantness), but with success things can change. Isaac Brock’s songs are increasingly mature, and when a summer tour coincides with a throwaway EP the air has a whiff of things dubious.

Perception is everything, however, and people crying foul over the non-essentiality of the No One’s First And You’re Next EP are hanging onto the band they used to know a little too tight. Odds-n-ends compilations are nothing new to the Mouse hole, and used to arrive at (in hindsight) critical junctures. Building Nothing Out Of Something gathered early tracks just in time for their major-label debut, alerting new fans that the band were something to invest in. Sad Sappy Sucker came almost a year later and went all the way back to the beginning, while the near simultaneous release of Everywhere And His Nasty Parlour Tricks shored up any loose Moon rocks. So by September 25th, 2001, it was more or less possible to own every song they’d released for consumption.

That was almost eight years ago.

Since then, Brock has changed. He’s no longer a scruffy, Pacific-northwestern outcast fighting off a date-rape accusation. Robert Christgau said in his review of 1997’s Lonesome Crowded West, “Skirting the professional class they were born to for a poverty that’s real if voluntary, these three youngsters are probably wise-asses, probably thieves.” No more. He’s actually somewhat precise. These leftovers from the past three records could all have made the albums they missed, though only “The Whale Song” has a real argument against exclusion. The EP’s just as effective as the others, but its lightness merely underscores the band’s refinement and less time spent being young and wasting it.

Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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