May 07, 2004

Modest Mouse "Good News for People Who Love Bad News"

I'm going to assume--and forgive me if such assumptions are false--that my readers already know about Modest Mouse. At this point in the game, if you've not heard of them, you're probably going to real soon. It was quite a shock for me indeed to hear "Float On" on Top 40 radio between Nelly and Britney Spears, but it happened, it has happened--and somewhere, your hipster friends are torn between screaming "sellout!" and "score one for the cool bands!" (Okay, I'm lying about that second part--the hardcore Modest Mouse fans, so disgusted that 'their' band has become extremely successful, have more than likely moved on to some other equally hyped but much more 'underground' phenomenon.)

I'll be honest and say that I'm kinda proud of these boys. They've certainly worked their asses off for their current success, and I cannot begrudge a man his success, especially if it's something they've earned. I've also got to give mad props out to whoever it was that decied to use Dennis Herring as their producer--it was a surprising choice for a producer, yet he's done a masterful job of producing Modest Mouse and giving them a fresh new sound. "Float On" is a brilliant production, and thankfully they've given the world an album with more than just a hit song and medicore 'filler' material. There's the great "Ocean Breathes Salty," the wonderful one-two-three punch of "This Devil's Workday," "The View" and "Satin In A Coffin," which goes from wicked folk to a more traditional Modest Mouse indie-rock 'dance' groove and back into the woods again, yet it all sounds perfectly natural for the band. Best yet is the final, ambitious "The Good Times Are Killing Me," which finds the band joined by those wacky Flaming Lips weirdos.

Will success spoil Issac Brock? Nah, I don't think so--he's been spoiled for years. This is Modest Mouse's Green, and I'm proud of 'em. Good News For People Who Love Bad News is ambitious, well-produced, and easily their best record yet. If you're a boring-ass indie-rock kid, get over the fact that the band didn't make a retread of Lonesome Crowded West and actually appreciate the damn fact that the world is finally ready for interesting music like Modest Mouse.

Or you could just stick in your indie-rock ghetto (aka the house that shit built) and listen to the 'hip' 'new' band that you and every one of your friends, buddies, friendsters and everyone else who reads Pitchfork 'discovered' before 'everyone else' did. You're gonna do that anyway, your 'tastes' are shit anyway, and besides, this review/website/reality ain't for you.

--Joseph Kyle

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