Modest Mouse - The Golden Casket Music Album Reviews

Modest Mouse - The Golden Casket Music Album Reviews
The band’s first new album in six years is a procession of pinging, clanging, reverberating tactile pleasures, an inventive backdrop for Isaac Brock’s familiar blend of forced optimism and unforced paranoia.

Time is now part of Modest Mouse’s process. During the band’s early peak, they raced out three monumental albums in five years—long, sprawling records, seemingly confined only by the capacity of a CD—along with troves of great EPs, rarities, and odds and ends. But after “Float On” elevated them to alternative rock’s A-list, the spigot slowed. It took the band eight years to complete 2015’s Strangers to Ourselves, and although Isaac Brock promised another album “as soon as legally possible,” it took them another six years to finish The Golden Casket.

Even more than Strangers to Ourselves, The Golden Casket never tries to pretend it was recorded in a single time or place—a band that once worked in frantic bursts of inspiration now prefers lengthy, unhurried tinkering. But unlike Strangers, which was the first Modest Mouse album without new things to say or new ways of saying them, Casket has some unique sounds to show for all its slow-cooked experimentation. It’s some of the band’s most luxuriously textured work, a procession of pinging, clanging, reverberating tactile pleasures. Early on, Brock pledged not to play any guitar on the record, and while he ended up playing some, the instrument’s frequent absence clears space that’s inventively filled by percussion and troves of obscure and vintage instruments.

The album credits meticulously catalog each musician’s contributions down to their finger snaps, because this is the kind of record that differentiates between the sounds of different fingers. On one song, band member Tom Peloso is credited with playing “Fun Machine, piano, mini Korg, and Crumar”; on another, Brock plays not only banjo and melodica but also vibraslap, spacephone, and “soft drink percussion” (it involves soda cans). Even if you can’t place the vibraslap, the textural specificity helps these studio concoctions conjure any number of settings real or imagined: an Archie McPhee warehouse, a 1980s FAO Schwarz, the dumpster behind the Price Is Right soundstage, Danny Elfman’s rec room.

As usual, Brock’s songs are a strange blend of forced optimism and unforced paranoia. On the chipper side, there are a couple of easy-drinking radio singles, including the marimba- and drum machine-driven “The Sun Hasn’t Left.” “Lace Your Shoes,” an uncharacteristically earnest love letter to Brock’s children, is the most sentimental song he’s ever written. But he always sounds more believable on the gloomy stuff, and The Golden Casket gets dark. Between mostly tame swipes at selfies and online dating and pleas to put down the phone every now and then (“Just being here now is enough for me,” he repeats as a kind of transcendental mantra on “Wooden Soldiers”), he centers the album on the anti-tech manifesto “Transmitting Receiving,” the bleakest, most upsetting music he’s recorded since The Moon & Antarctica.

The song’s verses play out as long, spoken lists of devices and forces that may or may not be transmitting directly to our skulls (“Computers, clocks, drones, clones, trees and stalks/Moles and trolls, lights at four-way stops”). In interviews, Brock has self-effacingly called “Transmitting Receiving” the “tinfoil hat” section of the album, but he’s also insisted “it’s probably the most important shit that I’ve written about,” reiterating his belief in V2K, targeted individuals, and gang stalking—convictions often associated with mental illness. Like all songs that raise concerns about their creators’ well-being, it’s a difficult listen, but in a roundabout way, it bolsters The Golden Casket’s thesis. On an album about the dangers of the internet, Brock has platformed a lot of conspiracies he almost certainly picked up online.

What The Golden Casket is missing is the kind of contagious earworm that made Modest Mouse radio mainstays. There’s no “Float On” here. There’s not even a “Dashboard.” But the album rewards the time and patience it demands in a way the last couple haven’t. Even the songs that underwhelm at first—like the booming lead single “We Are Between,” the band at its most Coors-commercial pandering—have a way of opening up over repeated listens, revealing loose threads and teasing all the different ways they might have been knotted. Modest Mouse may never again bottle the explosive impulsivity of The Lonesome Crowded West, but they’re getting better at making their polished edges feel like a fair substitute for the old rough ones.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Modest Mouse - The Golden Casket Music Album Reviews Modest Mouse - The Golden Casket Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 03, 2021 Rating: 5


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