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The Moon & Antarctica (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Modest Mouse's Epic debut, The Moon & Antarctica, finds them strangely subdued, focusing on mortality as well as the moody, acoustic side of their music and downplaying the edgy, spastic rock that helped make them indie stars. Not that their first major-label release sounds like a sellout — actually, the slight sheen of Brian Deck's production enhances the album's introspective tone — but occasionally The Moon & Antarctica's melancholy becomes ponderous. Unfortunately, the album's middle stretch contains three such songs, "The Cold Part," "Alone Down There," and "The Stars Are Projectors," which tend to blur together into one 17-minute-long piece that bogs down the album's momentum. Individually, each of these songs is sweeping and haunting in its own right, but grouping them together blunts their impact. However, this trilogy does provide a sharp contrast to, as well as a bridge across, The Moon & Antarctica's more vibrant beginning and end. Though it explores death and the afterlife, The Moon & Antarctica's liveliest moments are its most effective. "3rd Planet"'s simple, ramshackle melody and strange, moving lyrics ("Your heart felt good"), the elastic guitars on "Gravity Rides Everything," and the angular, jumpy "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" and "A Different City" get the album off to a strong start, while the fresh, unaffected "Wild Packs of Family Dogs," "Paper Thin Walls," and "Lives" bring it to an atmospheric, affecting peak before "What People Are Made Of" closes the album with a climactic burst of noise. Their most cohesive collection of songs to date, The Moon & Antarctica is an impressive, if flawed, map of Modest Mouse's ambitions and fears. [The 2004 reissue has been remastered and features BBC performances of "3rd Planet," "Perfect Disguise," and "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes," as well as an instrumental version of "Custom Concern" from This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About.]

Customer Reviews

Good News For People Who Like Modest Mouse

The first Modest Mouse album I bought was We Were Dead... the second? Good News... Anyone will tell you going through a bands music backwards is a bad idea, and they'd be right, still, believe me when I say that The Moon & Antarctica is just as good, if not better than their latest works. It is the most consistantly great album the band has produced. Like the other two albums, it took me until the third listen to really appreciate the original Modest Mouse style. Some of the best moments occcur when there is just music, or noise, and no vocals (see "The Stars Are Projectors"). This is a brilliant album, if you like the rest of Modest Mouse's stuff, or want to get into it- I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS ALBUM! The added bonus songs are pointless though :) Best Songs: 3rd Planet, Gravitiy Rides Everything, Paper Thin Walls, I Came As A Rat, Lives, Life Like Weeds Best Moment: When the chorus of 3rd Planet kicks in.

One of the best rock albums of all time

Crossing often between eccentric and accessible. Way ahead of its time and holds up to multiple listens over many years. A classic.


Formed: 1993 in Issaquah, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Modest Mouse were one of the most surprising commercial success stories of the new millennium -- while their music was by turns taut and elliptical, and the lyrics sometimes cryptic and introspective, the band broke through to the mainstream audience with the platinum-selling Good News for People Who Love Bad News, and they became genuine rock stars at a time when their musical peers remained cult figures. Modest Mouse were founded in 1993 by guitarist and vocalist Isaac Brock, bassist Eric Judy,...
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