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coverpic flag US - Washington - Full Moon 97 - 08/30/04

Modest Mouse
Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Epic/Sony

Modest Mouse flirted with genius on their earlier LPs (The Moon and Antarctica), and they have defined themselves as a very artistically directed band. Probably, they are one of the most bizzarre underground bands ever to pop up into the main stream. What makes them so bizzare? Their delivery: Lead Singer, Isaac Brock's speech impediment forces him to create a bizzare character that sounds something like the drunk barhopper from the Simpsons. Doesn't sound very appealing on paper, does it? Yet on Good News..., his delivery provokes thought, association, and genius.

Good News... opens with an arrangement of blazing, shwanky horns. It's strangely reminscent of Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde, only you don't feel like you're in a Canadian weed bar. This lasts a matter of seconds before Brock's pulsating guitar riff introduces the heartbreaking "The World At Large". Bridge-era Simon and Garfunkel strings emerge and descend this song into the off beat funk radio hit "Float On". The introduction speaks to the title and theme of the album in general. The romanticsm of "Float On" represents itself with fables and allegories that lead to an undeniable philosophical conclusion - that no matter how bad things get - The World won't explode. It doesn't mean anything to optimistic, Modest Mouse ladens this record with undeniable anger and naturalism ("The Good Times Are Killing Me", "Bury Me With It", "Bukowski", "Black Caddillacs"). The Most satisfying of these being "Black Caddilac", with it's romping chorus: "We were done with the done, done, done! with all the fuck, fuck, fuckin' around!"

Are all these songs downers? Of course not! Besides "Float On", the Mouse's sweet romanticsm is shared on the beautiful "Blame It On The Tetons" as they contemplate who takes the fall and who takes the gold for the world's events. They turn up their undeniable funk once again for the ultimately satisfying "The View", where they claim back their metaphorical possesions that the cruel environment couldn't take from them. The record is so envolved in it's theme that it could pass for a borderline concept album. Yet at the same time, it's not quite as cinematic - it doesn't reach an ultimate climax, as most concept albums do. However, it's obvious resolution ("The Good Times Are Killing Me"), is just as comfortable and upfront as any other material on Good Times....

Modest Mouse's Good News For People Who Love Bad News is just what it promises to be: a philosophical essay on the pros and cons of hope in a cruel world. As of now it's the most promising and thought provoking record to come out this year. It's an undeniable masterpiece that doesn't go as far to say that this is a perfect world. But at the very least Modest Mouse proclaims that this is, by no measure- the end of the world. With the current state of events in the world today, that's a very comforting thing to know. Consider me a lover of good news and this hallmark record.

Copyright © 2004 Matthew DeMello e-mail address

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