Modest Mouse
The Lonesome Crowded West

by Samuel Barker
February 10, 2000

File Under: Post-punk jazz
rating: A-

1.Teeth Like God's Shoeshine

2.Heart Cooks Brain

3.Convenient Parking

4.Lounge (Closing Time)

5.Jesus Christ was an Only Child

6.Doin' the Cockroach

7.Cowboy Dan

8.Trailer Trash

9.Out of Gas

10.Long Distance Drunk

11.Shit Luck

12.Trucker's Atlas

13.Polar Opposites

14.Bankrupt on Selling

15.Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice on Ice, Alright

16.Baby Blue Sedan 

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  • Upon receiving a copy of Modest Mouse's "The Lonesome Crowded West", I was instantly blown away by the groove of the sound, the intellegent lyrics, and the overall good feel of the album. This band creates a wall of sound, and is only 3 pieces. This album has a constant groove kept in line by the bass playing of Eric Judy, and is complimented by the jazzy guitar playing of Isaac Brock. Even the drums have a very jazzy sound, with the ride of the hi-hat, and the muffled snare which is courtesy of Jeremiah Green. This band also has a knack for the more off the wall sounds too. This is a very phenomonal album.

    The album opens with the faster tempoed "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine", and gives way to one of the finer tracks on the album, "Heart Cooks Brain". This track is has a nice rhythm base, and added with Brock's lead riff, has a very nice sound. Reminiscent of an almost Curtus Mayfield-ish sound. The nice low pitch lead just heard through the bass and drum track. Then the album drops into a more eclectic song called "Convenient Parking" which starts off very low key, and turns into a noisy, powerful chorus. After it comes the funky styled, "Lounge (Closing Time)" this is a great song. It's got the nice trebly guitar and a nice loopy bass riff. And you can feel the groove throughout the song, and you can feel the lyrics. Then it drops into the mellow low key "Closing Time" part of the song. Which is a good cool down after the beginning.

    Other highlights are the song "Out Of Gas" which is a very interesting track. It starts off with a sorta soft intro and kicks into a nice groovy chorus. There is even a touch of accoustic folk sound on the album with "Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice On Ice, Alright" where Brock sings of being "drowned in boots like mafia, but your feet will still float like christ's" Then it kicks into the second part of the song where the electric guiar kicks in, and the song gets back to the groove feel of the prior tracks.

    There are also some really good lyrics in this album. Modest Mouse does a good job of writing symbolic tales, and just plain interesting stories. One of my personal favorite lyrical moments of the album was this line from the track "Doin' The Cockroach" I was in heaven, I was in hell, Believe in neither, But fear them as well."

    I highly recommend the purchase of this album. Modest Mouse has a sweet groovie sound that is a pleasure to listen to. Through the tight sounds, and intellegent lyrics, I am left with a good feeling. This is a great piece of art.

    Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at

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