Modest Mouse – The Golden Casket (Album Review)

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.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

  • Tom Sweet
    Posted at 22:26h, 14 August Reply

    Thanks. You sold me. I have liked Modest Mouse 🐀 since Sad Sappy Sucker and your review has be excited to hear new music from an old favorite. My favorite thing that is common in Modest Mouse tracks is the doubling of the vocals be yell talking in what sounds like the bathroom.

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