Today on everydaymusic, I’m listening to Modest Mouse’s new EP No One’s First and You’re Next. This EP consists of eight tracks, featuring unreleased tracks and B-sides from Good News for People Who Love Bad News and We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.
Now, I’m not a huge Modest Mouse fan, but I liked Good News for People Who Love Bad News, so I decided to give this EP a shot. In the week leading up to it, a friend suggested I listen to The Lonesome Crowded West to get an idea of what Modest Mouse sounded like back in the day. I got a hold of the album and gave it a listen, but I was disappointed by what I heard. I’m usually a fan of creativity, but what Modest Mouse put together was just too avant-garde, too indie for me.
This EP includes the song “King Rat” which was supposed to be released on We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, but was held off. The music video for “King Rat” was Heath Ledger’s last directorial work before he died. The video debuts on MySpace Music today (August 4), so go ahead and look it up. As always, you can find some Modest Mouse on SadSteve. Check it out.
Track 1: Satellite Skin
Not only the opening track, but also the first single off of this EP. Double-whammy. I can see why they made this song the first single. It’s catchy and consistent. It seems to me like Modest Mouse is getting more and more poppy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I could see why this song didn’t make an album though. It’s not as imaginative as most of their songs. 3½
Track 2: Guilty Cocker Spaniels
I love the guitar work throughout this song. I also like how the drums go from really chilled to pretty intense and back, throughout the song. Because of this the song has some nice breaks, and that really helps make it. I’m not a huge fan of Isaac Brock’s voice in general, but I mean, you can’t listen to Modest Mouse without it, so I’ve gotten kind of used to it. 3½
Track 3: Autumn Beds
The banjo really makes this song. I am hopelessly enamored with the banjo. The banjo break at about 1:20 into the song is super enjoyable to me. Brock’s voice actually kind of fits with this song to me. I’m kind of disappointed that this song didn’t make it onto an album. I’m glad it found it’s way onto this EP (it’s the second single, by the way), but I just think that it’s a better effort than some of the stuff on the previous albums. 4
Track 4: Whale Song
Starting with the super bassy intro, this song shows off it’s heaviness. It’s not heavy in an overwhelming way, though, which is good. The tension in this song just builds and builds, and then the vocals come in and all that vocal layering builds even more conflict and tension. That’s really the coolest thing about this song, to me. Although, the release of all that tension at the end is pretty anticlimactic. 3
Track 5: Perpetual Motion Machine
This is the third single off of this EP, and it’s the first song on the EP that involves the horns heavily. The way they use the horns gives the song a warm, slow, and lazy feeling, but Brock’s vocals give it a grittier sound. I love the little break for the guitar and the horns at like two minutes in. The ending is fresh, too. My favorite song off of this album. 4½
Track 6: History Sticks to Your Feet
This track sounds interesting, but I don’t really like Brock’s vocals here too much. The guitar sounds awesome, though. Again, the building of tension is phenomenal, but the release is just so bland and unexpected, that it makes it kind of anticlimactic. I don’t know whether there’s enough to this song to make it 3:55 long. 3
Track 7: King Rat
I haven’t seen the video for this song yet, but I’m really excited for it. It seems like Heath Ledger could’ve made a great video for such a weird song. I love the strings in this song. They give it such an eerie feel. Brock’s voice is perfect for tunes like this, that have a strange, spooky sound (as is Heath’s directing). The “you know, you know, you know it was all wrong” part sounds really cool. The horns are nice, too. I’m not a fan of the bridge. It’s really menacing-sounding, but I don’t think it’s all that auditorily pleasing. 3
Track 8: I’ve Got It All (Most)
The beginning of this song is phenomenal, but that’s all I really like, as far as the music is concerned. The song just feels too hard for me, and I’m not a huge fan of Brock’s vocals on this one. They’re usually pretty hit or miss, and they miss most of the time on this track. The part where he says, “how can someone inconsistent mess up so consistently?” is a favorite of mine, and I like the ending, but overall it’s not a song I’d listen to by choice. 2½
Honestly, I didn’t expect much from this EP. I came into it thinking that it was gonna be a bunch of garbage because, after all, the songs weren’t deemed good enough to make the albums. How wrong I was. This album surpassed all of my expectations, and even though I generally don’t like Brock’s voice, I really didn’t mind it as much on this album. The last few tracks aren’t my favorite, but there were a couple great songs, and with an eight track EP, that’s not a terrible success ratio. They win.
1) Perpetual Motion Machine