August 9, 2021 Modest Mouse – The Golden Casket (Album Review)
One of the enduring ones from the ’90s batch of bands associated with Indie Rock, Modest Mouse has just released its seventh studio album on Friday, June 25, 2021, via Epic Records. Despite the still ongoing pandemic, the hardworking band–consisting of founding members Isaac Brock (vocals, guitars) and Jeremiah Green (drums, percussion) along with Tom Peloso (upright bass, keyboards, backing vocals, fiddle), Russell Higbee (bass, rhythm guitar), Ben Massarella (drums, percussion, xylophone, effects), Jim Fairchild (lead guitar), and Lisa Molinaro (viola, vocals)–was able to pull off finishing the overdue follow-up to 2015’s Strangers to Ourselves.
Titled The Golden Casket, Modest Mouse’s latest record picks up where its predecessor left off. After all, most of its contents came from the last sessions; this time presented, of course, in their full regalia. It opens with the hypnotic drone of “Fuck Your Acid Trip,” a seeming throwback to the Alternative Dance troopers of the early ’90s such as Jesus Jones (“Trust Me”), Pop Will Eat Itself (“Eat Me Drink Me Love Me Kill Me”), and Happy Mondays (“24-Hour Party People”). More rooted in Modest Mouse’s Post-Punk trademark, the first single, “We Are Between,” has a ring of New Order to it (“Leave Me Alone”). “We’re Lucky” then follows in the same guitar-oriented vein, albeit with a slow tempo.
Modest Mouse then steps on the accelerator again with “Walking and Running” and the percussively playful “Wooden Soldiers.” And then there is the Shoegaze-glazed “Transmitting Receiving,” to be followed by the bright and shiny “The Sun Hasn’t Left” and the relaxing “Lace Your Shoes,” both of which are oozing with New Wave sensibilities.
Another change of style comes next in the form of the Post-Grunge track “Never Fuck a Spider on the Fly.” This is then followed by the electronic pulses of “Leave a Light On.” Finally, Modest Mouse wraps up its new oeuvre aptly with a stamp of its trademark–the late ’70s Post-Punk throwback “Japanese Trees” and “Back to the Middle.”
In recent years the music world has become more challenging, especially for the ’80s and the ’90s scene veterans. After all, so many newer artists have begun to dominate the limelight; and with them come younger fans who might not be easily receptive to the old vanguards. This is why bands like Modest Mouse, which continue to make music, deserve their new songs to be given attention. Besides, The Golden Casket is as familiar-sounding as the rest in Modest Mouse’s sonic arsenal, yet as fresh as anything from any budding Rock band today. This is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.