Album Review

Strangers To Ourselves

Strangers To Ourselves

by Modest Mouse


Epic
7 / 10
21st April 2015

Reviewed by Paul Larsen


The slow burn cello and lazy drumbeat of the title (and opening) track on Strangers to Ourselves betrays the expansive and varied journey that the rest of the record is about to lead the listener on. The uncharacteristically low-key ballad doesn’t build or intensify. Instead it burns gently. A dimly lit signpost coming into view - guiding the band’s faithful back to the party.

It’s been eight years since Modest Mouse released their last record (2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank). Not to say they’ve been idle in the intervening years. The band have continued to tour extensively, spent stints in-and-out of the studio and seen prominent band members come-and-go (including the end of Johnny Marr’s residency in the band and the departure of founding member Eric Judy).

It’s probably about 20 seconds into the second song, ‘Lampshades on Fire’, that you feel at home as a Modest Mouse fan. Lively melodies, spluttered vocals and the occasional horn wrap around Isaac Brock’s lyrical quirks. Recurring motifs that keep popping up again on tracks like ‘The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box’ and ‘The Best Room’. Like the muscle memory of the band's earlier records, it’s a natural groove that may not break any new ground but it’s welcome all the same.

A record this long in the making tends to be either a particularly epic masterpiece or an overcooked mess. Strangers to Ourselves is neither of these. What it is, however, is a great Modest Mouse record.





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