Hey, this isn’t all that good. You know how, like, the themes of “Long Drive” and “Interstate 8” are the American west and desolation and sprawl, and they go on to include similar introspection on coming albums? Well, the theme of this EP is swooshy backwards noises. Three of the tracks on here are nothing but said swooshy noises, and otherwise they’re used as both intros and outros to songs despite only once having anything to do with a song. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah!
Also, while Modest Mouse at this time were great at crafting lengthy songs, none of them crack the three-and-a-half minute mark. Not that that’s necessarily a sign of lack of effort, but many of these sound downright poorly produced. And most of them aren’t all that great, unlike just about everything on the albums this EP bisects. “The Waydown” and “Sunspots in the House of the Late Scapegoat” pass by with hardly a notice to be noticed and sound kinda lifeless, while “Dirty Fingernails” fades out in mid-verse as if they didn’t know how to finish it (so does the Steve Miller band’s famous “The Joker” – what’s the deal with that?).
It’s not all bad though! “The Fruit that Ate Itself has a cool baseline, even if not much more, “Dirty Fingernails” has a great guitar-keeping-time thing going on, “Summer” is their most accessible song yet, downright poppy though you’ll get sick of it after awhile, and “Karma’s Payment” actually uses those swooshy noises to lead into the song proper, and has a great marching beat and upsetting “I am not who I want to be I probably will not ever be” chanted happily to be the best song here. This is all in all a pretty superfluous release, but I’m of the mind that more music is always better than less, so bravo for being prolific, Modest Mouse!
But not you, Philip Glass.