Modest Mouse
The Moon And Antartica

by Samuel Barker
June 25, 2000

File Under: Jazzy, Emo, Alternative
rating: B+

1.3rd Planet

2. Gravity Rides Everything

3. Dark Center Of The Universe

4. Perfect Disguises

5. Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes

6. A Different City

7. The Cold Part

8. Alone Down There

9. The Stars Are Projectors

10. Wild Packs Of Family Dogs

11. Paper Thing Walls

12. I Came As A Rat

13. Lives

14. Life Like Weeds

15. What People Are Made Of

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  • modest mouse "the lonesome, crowded west" CD review
  • From barren land fruit does grow in this latest release by Issaquah, Washington band, Modest Mouse. Aparently deriving from a letter written to the band from an insane fan known as Ugly Cassanova, The Moon And Antartica is a nice eclectic mix of sounds. Issac Brock is the creative force behind Modest Mouse. His lyrics are very insightful into his personal feelings and fears. Often views that are in ways uplifting are viewed in a depressing sense. The album ventures down many alleyways of personal doubts, questions of origin, and isolations. The music on this album is a lot softer than other albums. Brock mostly uses accoustic guitars on this album. The music also lacks the 2 part songs that have become a trademark of Modest Mouse. The songs start soft and end soft or start fast and hard, and end the same, instead of the old style of starting fast and hard and ending in a melodic soft section or vice versa.

    The album begins with "3rd Planet". I think this is one of the best songs Modest Mouse has ever written. The songs is soft and sweet, but the lyrics tell of so much. It begins with a feeling of doubt in the world, and a feeling of falling apart, but gives into an exploration of something new in the knowledge that life is being extended through a child. It has a hint of wonderment that we in ourselves are a world in which so many things live, and function. "Gravity Rides Everything" starts with some cool feedback bending guitar sounds, and gives way into a more mellow accoustic feel. It's another great song lyrically. It illustrates the upside of being patient and not putting so much pressure on yourself when everything will come around sooner or later.

    "Dark Center Of The Universe" is a great "fuck you!" to all the people who have made Brock out to be a bad person in his life. With the chorus of "Well, it took a lot of work to be the ass that I am, and I'm pretty damn sure that anyone can equally easily fuck you over," you get a clear view of his stance on judgemental people. "Tiny Cities Of Ashes" is sorta left in limbo. It's got a wannabe club sound, and the overlay vocals are weak at best. But when dealing with a 15 song album, you will have your down points. Modest Mouse even tries their hand at writing an epic. "The Stars Are Projectors" is a beautiful song, and ends on one of the best lines from a song ever, "Was their a need for creation? that was hiding in a math equation and that's this...WHERE DO CIRCLES BEGIN?" Another good song is "I Came As A Rat", the song isn't really all that pleasant to hear, which adds to the message that much more. It's a bitter song, and has Brock warning everyone "It takes a long time, but God dies too, but not before he he'll stick it to you."

    This album is strong all the way through, you can hear Brock's maturation as a lyricist and guitarist. The rhythm section of Jeremiah Green and Eric Judy is strong as always. They do a great job of keeping everything together. People were afraid that with this being their first major release that they'd abandon their sound to be more commercially viable, that is VERY far from the truth. Modest Mouse does a good job of progressing, but not destroying their sound. In all truth, this album will not be a mainstream success, but it will be a success to all those who love this band, and enjoy their music. An album named after 2 such desolate places as the moon and antartica, has brought forth many things to be thankful for an enjoy.

    Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at

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