Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves // Community Review


Modest MouseStrangers to Ourselves //

We loved the batch of singles released in the marketing efforts to promote Modest Mouse’s first album since Bush was Pres. But does the long player hold up to the hype?


Eight years between albums can feel like an eternity for any band, but it’s particularly long when you consider that Modest Mouse haven’t taken more than four years to release any of their previous LPs. Frontman Isaac Brock has been through a lot in that time, from a frightening moment in 2007 that left him bleeding profusely from his face to a number of run-ins with the law over the years. Strangers to Ourselves, the band’s sixth studio LP, reminds us why Modest Mouse remain one of the most essential indie-rock outfits over the last two decades. With a run time of nearly an hour, the substantial 15-track Strangers has all the makings of a classic Modest Mouse record with experimental touches sprinkled throughout and a major guest spot from one of Brocks’ longtime friends, James Mercer, who lends a hand in the singing department. As most Modest Mouse fans should be used to by now, it’s an album that requires patience and a willingness to dig deeper than just its singles (see “Lampshades on Fire”), yet one that also proves to be quite rewarding in doing so. -Josh Herwitt
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box”

Eight long years! Modest Mouse sure took their time with this one. And the marketing campaign has been in full swing for weeks, slowly releasing singles. I’m really enjoying this album and it’s classic Modest Mouse to my ears (that wailing guitar sound — you know the one I’m talking about), but it would have been incredibly hard to live up to the hype that I had built up for it. Although the album drags at times, it’s a joy to hear and there will be many people lining up and salivating at the chance to hear these new tunes live. -Steven Wandrey
4 BAMS // Top Song: “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box”

There are musical and thematic aspects of all of their discography in this one album. You have the fucked up party anthem “Lampshades on Fire.” You have the unfortunate fact of human impact on the planet with “Coyotes.” You have references to the Wild West and misanthrope “God Is an Indian and You’re an Asshole.” In all, this album feels familiar yet fresh, which is good because I tend to wear out my Modest Mouse albums. -Bridget Stagnitto
4 BAMS // Top Song: “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box”

This 15-track return to form has a handful of grand slam singles (“The Best Room,” The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box”) along with just as many stinkers that linger beyond the moment they inhabit (“Be Brave,” “Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996” in particular). The sequencing makes for a jarring first listen that smooths out as more time is given for the work to acclimate. Strangers to Ourselves fits snugly into the Modest Mouse canon, especially with so much time since the last set of new tunes — and even more music is on the way with a second album allegedly coming soon (which might include a Big Boi collab). The biggest accomplishment here is Modest Mouse pushing their aesthetic boundaries (for better and worse), firing up a passion that continues to drive the group forward. -Mike Frash
3 BAMS // Top Song: “The Best Room”


What do you think of Modest Mouse’s Strangers to Ourselves? Keep the conversation going below with your quick review or comment. We’ll hook you up with a free pair of tickets to your choice of show this week in San Francisco if we like your reply.

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