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The Moon & Antarctica

Modest Mouse

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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

The Mouse plays to my hearts desire

This ablum is by far very under-rated. I know it may be impossible to find a bad song by Modest Mouse on account of every single one of them being pure genius. However, this whole album rises above the line and spits in the mainstreams eye with its brilliance. This album is not only good for the old time Modest Mouse fans but also for the new comers who don't really know the true vipe of the mouse. Alone down there just feels me with emotion while Gravity Rides Everything makes even the most emo depressed person see joy in everything around them. I beg that every one please buy this and listen to it over and over again.

Modest Mouse is the Climax of Music, and if you disagree, listen to them more till you realize it.

Modest Mouse, not just in this amazing cd, but in every song they have ever recorded, has been amazing. Obviously some songs stand out, but overall, they are a top-notch band. One of their charms is that their sound in each song is so unique, so different, it never gets boring, and everyone has their own personal favorites of Modest Mouse. When listening to most cd's by other bands I like, I listen, think it's great, and then put my favorites on my iPod. With Modest Mouse, every song is amazing, and you always feel like spending another 80ish minutes listening to the cd again. I had just recently started listening to Modest Mouse right after We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank came out. My friend played Float On in a car ride down the shore, and I thought it was amazing. Then from there, I went to Ocean Breathes Salty, and Dashboard. I thought alot of their stuff sounded weird, sparatic, and rediculous. I then liked Missed the Boat, though the one part where he says, "shake shake shake shake shake" in an odd way bothered me, though I slowly came to love that. From there, it was like a shotgun effect, going into songs like Dramamine, Black Cadilacs, Polar Opposites, and Gravity Rides Everything. The more I listened to Modest Mouse, the more I appreciated the witty commentaries of the lyrics, the sound of the intruments, and the more frenzy like songs, such as Tiny Cities Made of Ashes and Steam Engenius. I have to say, after about 6ish months, Modest Mouse has quickly became my favorite band, and amazes me at how good a band can be at making songs.

Definitely Worth a Try

I bought this CD several years ago out of vague curiousity and respect for MM's music videos, but after several dozen run-throughs I must say, there is some great music here. There's a refreshingly wide variety of songs and enough feeling behind the music, instrumental and vocal, to make it really meaningful as well. The guitar is respectable and the lyrics personal, and though admittedly I first found this somewhat out of my genre, with some listening to it easily takes the five star.

Biography

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...
Full Bio