Under Review: Modest Mouse – No One’s First And You’re Next

If you’ve been a longtime fan of Modest Mouse, then you already know all about their humble beginnings on legendary indie label K Records. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with the band’s earliest output, I highly recommend checking out their compilation, Sad Sappy Sucker. Or, if you’re not into the super lo-fi thing, you can check out the band’s new EP, No One’s First And You’re Next, which brings modern, major label production quality to indie ethos. Not unlike The DecemberistsAlways The Bridesmaid collection of last year, the songs on No One’s First were released on a staggered basis, building anticipation as to what the EP would sound like as a whole. The first two tracks were promising enough: “Satellite Skin” sounds like it would fit snuggly on either of the band’s last records, while “Guilty Cocker Spaniels” features a guitar riff that I can’t help but compare to “Bag Of Hammers” by Thao With The Get Down Stay Down (seriously, listen to them back-to-back!). Following those two are the delicate, chorale-laden “Autumn Beds” and the extended jam of “The Whale Song.” Right in the middle of the EP is the disc’s finest moment: “Perpetual Motion Machine,” a Dixieland-ish track complete with a woozy horn section, finds the band two-stepping out of their comfort zone, marking a true return to their more freewheeling roots. That track’s respective b-side, “History Sticks To Your Feet” revisits the jangly pop of the EP’s first half, and the final tracks, “King Rat” and “I’ve Got It All (Most)” bring the disc to a close with more horns and catchy guitar figures. Though they might not be on an independent label anymore, Modest Mouse prove that they haven’t forgotten their roots as an experimental yet poppy outfit. If the songs on No One’s First And You’re Next are any indication of how the group’s next proper album will sound, fans old and new alike are in luck.

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~ by E. on August 3, 2009.

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