Well, this is weird. Modest’s Mouse’s woulda-been first record, recorded back when the Smashing Pumpkins were commercially viable and Doom 2 was the best game ever. Also, it has like nine songs from Isaac’s answering machine from way back in the day. Also it has a couple non-album singles, which actually comprise about half the record.
In conclusion, Modest Mouse’s first record would’ve sounded like a bunch of precocious teenagers unsure of their way and not that talented yet, which is what they were. It sounds very Pavementy, with all sorts of melodic variation – from accordion-led weirdness to music noir creepiness and with a lot of less interesting stuff in between. Modest Mouse hadn’t figured out that they like sprawling songs yet, so while many of the songs are multi-part, the parts are all really short. Only two of the songs here crack that three minute barrier (and those just barely) while half the songs are less than a minute long, so the 23 odd songs get burned through in less than 35 minutes. Scary, really. The melodies are vaguely jazzy and the choruses pretty scratchy, but it’s all super scattered and unformed and lo-fi, and it was probably a good idea to wait until they had a reasonable fanbase to release it to. “Dukes Up” is probably the only cohesively great song here.
Also, the last eight songs are just amusing thirty-second weebles from when Isaac was 18. Also, they sound a little emo on a couple songs! Hee! Well, the start of “Every Penny Fed Car” anyway. Also, the lyrics aren’t too exciting, except for “Think Long” going “Sit and think for a while and you’ll realize that you still die (da da da da da!) / If you’re not thinking at all I’m not sure why you’re alive!”
I am curious how a band of people so young comes out with this in an age of Nine Inch Nails and other crap, but I guess some people are just better than the rest of us (see previous review). Also, I am curious how the hell they went from a cute little record of cute little songs like this to a big long record of grown-up songs in two years. Magic Jew Spice, I bet.