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Modest Mouse - No One's First, and You're Next Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 7.75
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.36
Musicianship 8.45
Lyrics 8.41
Production 8.26
Creativity 8.24
Lasting Value 8.03
Reviewer Tilt 8.91
Average: 84%
Inside AP.net

Modest Mouse - No One's First, and You're Next

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (08/05/09)
Modest Mouse - No One's First, and You're Next
Record Label: Epic Records
Release Date: August 4, 2009

It's two years removed from the release of Modest Mouse's last album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, and I wish I could say I'm reviewing an album of brand new material, but alas, No One's First and You're Next is a collection of newly-recorded tracks that were outtakes and B-sides from the recording sessions for We Were Dead and 2004's Good News for People Who Love Bad News. Upon listening to the eight-track set, it's evident that these songs probably wouldn't have fit too well on the last two records, and aside from Isaac Brock's signature yelp, they likely won't sound too familiar to listeners who have only been exposed to the band's post-"Float On" recordings.

The first single released from the EP was "Satellite Skin/Guilty Cocker Spaniels," and those two tracks open the set, offering a fitting introduction. "Satellite Skin" offers a bouncy melody that's in line with the band's later, more accessible material, but those opening guitars possess a lo-fi buzz we haven't heard from them since their Up Records days. "Guilty Cocker Spaniels" evolves from a jangly guitar track reminiscent of "Paper Thin Walls" from The Moon and Antarctica into a wall of distortion, with Brock's vocals becoming increasingly urgent. Lyrically, he's in top form as well, as "Satellite Skin" displays his trademark cryptic writing style that has kept me repeatedly coming back for more. Not surprisingly, it comes off as a frank examination of belief, a typical Modest Mouse theme, but he's able to inject a bit of hopefulness even when spewing existential ruminations like "If you sweep up this mess I've created, nothing's left to show I existed." "Guilty Cocker Spaniels" is a more straightforward depiction of modern life as a mundane cycle, characterized by the pursuit of mindless entertainment and satisfaction.

"Autumn Beds" carries a folky feel not unlike Brock's own work in Ugly Casanova, but lags a bit and suffers from too much repetition of the line, "We won't be sleeping in our autumn beds," whence the title came. Any boredom resulting from this is quickly alleviated with the onset of "The Whale Song," a complex six-minute jam in the vein of Built to Spill, except the guitar lines here are jagged and more slicing. Collaborators The Dirty Dozen Brass Band appear on "Perpetual Motion," and the Vaudeville-styled arrangement makes them sound a lot like a band they've been a huge influence on, Man Man. "History Sticks to Your Feet," like the first two tracks, combines their recent melodic sensibility with the sound of their early music, or perhaps an old Spoon song.

Without question, these aren't the band's strongest songs, but if you're anything like me, you'll find that their cast-offs are better than the majority of other acts' first class material. Longstanding fans will appreciate this collection, as it exhibits the band piecing together elements from their entire career ("King Rat" even has shades of the Appalachian twang of "Jesus Christ Was an Only Child"), but in ways we really haven't heard thus far. I suppose it's natural to be a bit suspicious about a B-sides collection, and even given my affection for Brock and company, I was leery about how this might turn out. Luckily, No One's First and You're Next is a largely successful endeavor, and a suitable holdover until the band releases some new music. Now, let's get on that, huh?

Recommended If You LikeModest Mouse's Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Built to Spill's You in Reverse
Fake Problems' It's Great to Be Alive
Man Man's Rabbit Habits
Spoon's Kill the Moonlight


Track Listing1. Satellite Skin (3:59)
2. Guilty Cocker Spaniels (4:02)
3. Autumn Beds (3:40)
4. The Whale Song (6:04)
5. Perpetual Motion Machine (3:10)
6. History Sticks to Your Feet (3:54)
7. King Rat (5:30)
8. I've Got It All (Most) (3:10)
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 36
02:22 PM on 08/05/09
#2
Dymytry Vance
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Sounds cool. I've never liked bands like this, but Modest Mouse has always been a pleasure to listen to ever since I heard The Moon and Antarctica back in'03.
02:23 PM on 08/05/09
#3
Dymytry Vance
Fuck Relient K!
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Such a dope EP. Even though these aren't Modest Mouse's strongest songs they are still pretty. damn good.

For the most part I can see why these songs were left off previous albums except for the Whale Song. It shouldn't have been doomed to b-side status and is one of Modest Mouse's best songs. Ever.
I agree about the Whale Song part. It's their best song.
03:15 PM on 08/05/09
#4
Daigle lol
don't tell me what I can't do!
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Very good review.. Just about every song on this EP is really good.. but I really love the opening Satellite Skin/Guilty Cocker Spaniels.. sometimes, I'll get to the end of Guilty Cocker Spaniels and just go back to the beginning and listen to those two songs.. also Whale Song and King Rat are awesome

the video for King Rat is pretty sick too.
03:18 PM on 08/05/09
#5
Keagan Ilvonen
@KeaganIlvonen
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Great job with this review. I need to pick this up.
03:28 PM on 08/05/09
#6
Jeremy Aaron
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Haha. Good to see positive responses. I half expected to see "this review didn't make any sense." My original word count was almost 900 words (this is my all-time favorite band, so I could ramble on all day if allowed), but I figured no one would want to read that much about a B-sides EP, so I just started chopping shit out. Glad it still flowed OK.
04:33 PM on 08/05/09
#7
Blake Solomon
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i really like this EP
04:37 PM on 08/05/09
#8
Blake Solomon
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this is great analysis: "ot surprisingly, it comes off as a frank examination of belief, a typical Modest Mouse theme, but he's able to inject a bit of hopefulness even when spewing existential ruminations like "If you sweep up this mess I've created, nothing's left to show I existed." "Guilty Cocker Spaniels" is a more straightforward depiction of modern life as a mundane cycle, characterized by the pursuit of mindless entertainment and satisfaction."

And when you mention that thing about King Rat and past material, it clicked immediately. Nice mention.
06:40 AM on 08/06/09
#9
IceAge/HeatWave
it's never just the hefenrefer
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Such a dope EP. Even though these aren't Modest Mouse's strongest songs they are still pretty. damn impressive.

For the most part I can see why these songs were left off previous albums except for the Whale Song. It shouldn't have been doomed to b-side status and is one of Modest Mouse's best songs. Ever.
this.
06:50 AM on 08/06/09
jtyexists9
We shouldnt have abandoned dreaming
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I loved this ep, probably because Good News is a great album. Good review.
07:32 AM on 08/06/09
princesschad
sowing season
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Great band.
07:33 AM on 08/06/09
Festivus
for the rest of us...
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I picked up the EP the other day and its been in my car ever since. Good stuff.
07:42 AM on 08/06/09
Kill_the_radio
Don't wait too long to come home
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I like the EP, and the review was good too!

Edit: Great BTS reference, my fav. band!
07:56 AM on 08/06/09
imtimwhoareyou
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Haha. Good to see positive responses. I half expected to see "this review didn't make any sense." My original word count was almost 900 words (this is my all-time favorite band, so I could ramble on all day if allowed), but I figured no one would want to read that much about a B-sides EP, so I just started chopping shit out. Glad it still flowed OK.

I started to copy and paste the last sentence from the last paragraph to quote it, because I absolutely agree and it makes perfect sense, but then I realized that I should then do it for the second to last sentence too... Then the whole paragraph, haha.

Good review, and there is something special about this B-sides EP that's a little harder to put my finger on, whereas other B-sides albums seem to be thrown together. This is actually a pretty impressive set of "B-sides."

If I had not known these were B-sides before I picked up this album, I might have never known...
08:46 AM on 08/06/09
EricKillsTime
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Great review of a great EP. MM needs more love on AP.net.
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