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Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves

By Jeff Blay

It’s been eight long years since Modest Mouse released We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank – the fifth full-length album put out by the experimental indie band from Issaquah, Washington. I’m sure many fans convinced themselves (as I did) the lengthy hiatus was merely a case of ‘good things come to those who wait.’ It took nearly a decade, but with the recent release of the band’s sixth album, Strangers To Ourselves, lead singer/guitarist Isaac Brock and company delivered – big time. The 15-track album released in March is nothing short of a contemporary classic. With an eclectic mix powerful and, in some cases, welcomingly abrasive, rock tunes, along with slower, lyrical-driven songs featuring the pretty guitar riffs Brock is so well known for, Strangers To Ourselves is another Modest Mouse masterpiece. Starting off with the calming title track, “Strangers To Ourselves”, followed by the upbeat first single, “Lampshades on Fire”, the album changes gears to a heavier, darker style showcasing the band’s growth with “Shit In Your Cut” and “Pistol”. It then spins off into the catchier, “Float On”-esque sound with one of my favourites, “Ansel”, where Brock reflects on the tragic death of his brother, who died young in an avalanche while on a family ski trip. The second single “The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box”, leads off the last 10 songs, which trade-off between slow, hard and melodic, with other notable tracks being “Coyotes”, “Pups to Dust”, “Wicked Campaign”, “Be Brave” and “The Best Room”. It may have been a long wait, but it was well worth it. And don’t worry — it won’t be nearly as long until the next release — Brock has said a follow-up album is in the works and will be released “as quickly as it’s legally allowed.”

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