‘Strangers to Ourselves’ Review

Picture

        By Louie Wieseman        I’ve been a fan of Modest Mouse since the release of “Float On”, and Good News For People Who Love Bad News. To this date it’s still one of my favorite albums and one of the best of that decade. I also picked up We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank on a whim and enjoyed that album as well. How does Strangers to Ourselves hold up compared the previous albums? Does the band go in a new direction? If there is a new direction, is it a gooddirection?

        The main problem I have withStrangers to Ourselves is the overall flow of the album. Usually there is a story or at least an emotional flow to an album. Some songs could have been rearranged on the album, like putting “The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box” earlier on the album or pushing “Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996)” further down the lineup.
Initially, I found the first half of the album a grungier than Modest Mouse’s previous efforts. It’s a darker background and feels a bit heavier than normal. The second half of the album returns the band’s more well-known sound. I prefer some songs in the second half of the album than the first. They are easier to listen to, while still upbeat and fun. This, however, doesn’t come completely as a compliment. The second blends together and sounds the same.
One of my favorite songs from Strangers to Ourselvesinclude “Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996).” It has an industrial sound with a strong, gripping, angry beat to accompany it and draw in listeners. “Pups in Dust” also captured my attention. It’s that smooth guitar sound that Modest Mouse has, blending perfectly with the other layers of the song. “The Ground Walks, with Time In A Box” was one of their unofficial singles that I enjoy. It differs from the rest of the songs without straying from the theme of the song.
        What’s a Modest Mouse album without a song that feels like you’re at the center of a circus? ”Sugar Boats” has you covered. “Wicked Campaign” doesn’t even sound like the band, going towards a more electronically produced song, and not the natural layer-produced song using the traditional band setup. Later on “The Tortoise and the Tourist” brings back that Modest Mouse sound that I love. Then of course there is a big spacey ending when “Of Course We Know” comes on.
        Overall, it’s a good album. Some minor things interfere, but don’t overshadow the album’s good qualities. I don’t see it bringing in fans by the hoards like “Float On” did, but loyal fans will still enjoy the band’s first album in eight years.

Verdict

Good

Loyal fans will still enjoy the band’s first album in eight years.
Picture

Positives

  • Still the same, good sound
  • Fun and easy listening

Negatives

  • Not much differentiation in the songs
  • Track Order