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Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9.5
Lyrics 9.75
Production 9.5
Creativity 9.75
Lasting Value 10
Reviewer Tilt 10
Final Verdict: 96%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.07
Musicianship 8.39
Lyrics 8.36
Production 8.43
Creativity 7.21
Lasting Value 8.32
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Average: 81%
Inside AP.net

Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica

Reviewed by: nineinchsin (08/05/10)
Modest Mouse The Moon & Antarctica
Record Label: Epic
Release Date: 8/10/2000


It's a daunting task, looking at Modest Mouse's third full length in a way which will not partially affront someone. In many ways, the record has ironically become a religion for those who swear by it. It is seen by many to be the apex of the band's career and that no release after it will possibly be able to touch its profoundness. I can honestly agree that Modest Mouse will never put out an album like The Moon & Antarctica again. So what gives?

Basically, the album is a cohesive masterpiece from top to bottom. Does that make it superior to releases such as Good News for People who Love Bad News or The Lonesome Crowded West? That is a very "yes and no" type of question. For the most part, the record features songs that are just as intelligently written and beautifully executed as any others. For example, songs like "3rd Planet", "Gravity Rides Everything", "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes", "Wild Pack of Family Dogs", "I Came as a Rat" and "Paper Thin Walls" are no more masterful than "The World at Large" or "Missed the Boat". So why is Moon placed on a pedestal?

One quality of the record that does make it greater than other Modest Mouse releases is that there are absolutely zero tracks that seem out of a place or unwarranted. There are no similar tunes or songs that seem redundant. Another discerning feature is Brock's lyrical work. On other records, his writing wasn't reflective or oozed cynicism. When it wasn't shallow or pessimistic, there was also the somber Brock or the atypical good-natured Brock (Try and match those descriptions with the other four main records). On The Moon & Antarctica, Brock's statements on life, death and religion are crisp and thoughtful.

There are perhaps six tracks on the album that lay the foundation for it being the finest work Modest Mouse has done. Three of those six are right next to each other and they seem to create one moody juggernaut. Those tracks are of course, "The Cold Part", "Alone Down There" and "The Stars are Projectors". Together, they create a hauntingly beautiful sixteen minute expedition into introspection, mortality, and what it is to be a human being. They perfectly represent the ambitious vibrancy that exudes through the record's hour long ride.

It would not do to dissect each track individually for the unified nature of the tracks would make any interpretations seem overwrought. The only true way to experience The Moon & Antarctica is to listen to it for you. The interpretations are subjective and unique to the listener in a way which has only been briefly touched on Modest Mouse albums.

While the musicianship is very strong (The guitar work in "Alone Down There" or the thumping bass of "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" being highlights), it is simply not what makes this album. What ultimately makes the album are the feelings it instill in the one taking it in.

In a way, Modest Mouse produced a very mature yet melancholy work. The consistently downhearted side of the album is occasionally a glimpse of how monochrome it might have turned out had tracks like "3rd Planet" or "Paper Thin Walls" not filled the cracks. Enough skewed banter, if by some chance you passed up on this record for ten years, get to listening.

Recommended If You LikeBuilt to Spill; The Shins; Flaming Lips; Arcade Fire


myspace.com/modestmouse
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 19.
09:16 PM on 08/05/10
#2
mymusicismylife
Disgruntled wheat thins enthusiast
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Love...
10:14 PM on 08/05/10
#3
Steeeve Perry
Pushin' th' little daisies
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The single greatest album lyrically of all time. Contenders such as Highway 61 Revisited, The Queen Is Dead and Separation Sunday can't even compare. Modest Mouse are unbelievable and this it their epic peak.
11:04 PM on 08/05/10
#4
StepsInADance
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The single greatest album lyrically of all time. Contenders such as Highway 61 Revisited, The Queen Is Dead and Separation Sunday can't even compare. Modest Mouse are unbelievable and this it their epic peak.
My thoughts exactly
Im surprised the reviewer din't give the lyrics a 10
11:38 PM on 08/05/10
#5
introduction
You're not real musician!
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Great review, really great album.
06:09 AM on 08/06/10
#6
mymusicismylife
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My thoughts exactly
Im surprised the reviewer din't give the lyrics a 10

Nitpicking. He probably just doesn't give out 10s to a band's performance, because everything can be a tiny bit better. Nothing's perfect.

Besides this album.
06:35 AM on 08/06/10
#7
musicenthusiast
nah mean?
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seriously.. i've been attempting to become a big modest mouse fan, you know? trying to listen to all their albums collectively because they're all worth listening to, but i started w/ this one, and have listened to it thousands of times and not moved on to the next one. this album is a certifiable classic, and the music can go toe to toe w/ any classic in any genre of any era.
08:47 AM on 08/06/10
#8
fobmcrafi6
down with the fad
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i feel like you don t really concentrate on each track individually; it seems like it s a splendid album, but i feel like your kinda biased
08:51 AM on 08/06/10
#9
mymusicismylife
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i feel like you don t really concentrate on each track individually; it seems like it s a splendid album, but i feel like your kinda biased

Track-by-track reviews, if that's what you're implying this should be, are rather poor unless the album is short. Talking about the album as a whole and the music itself is more important.

And of course he's biased.
08:57 AM on 08/06/10
fobmcrafi6
down with the fad
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Track-by-track reviews, if that's what you're implying this should be, are rather poor unless the album is short. Talking about the album as a whole and the music itself is more important.

And of course he's biased.
he does it on every other modest mouse album but the one that is the best,,, i like to see why each 0ne is xtravagant rather than just stating the album as a whole
04:12 PM on 08/06/10
lesterCorp.
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I find this album to be overrated. And I'm a big modest mouse fan (and not just the new stuff...altho i find it to be their best work). Found this album to be a little self-indulgent. Third Planet & Paper Thin Walls are great tracks tho.
Ok, you can start insulting my opinion now.
12:14 AM on 08/07/10
circasuicide
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i personally wouldn't compare modest mouse to the shins.
10:25 AM on 08/07/10
nineinchsin
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i personally wouldn't compare modest mouse to the shins.
Who compared them to The Shins?
11:18 AM on 08/07/10
circasuicide
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Recommended If You LikeBuilt to Spill; The Shins; Flaming Lips; Arcade Fire
03:36 PM on 08/07/10
nineinchsin
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Recommended If You LikeBuilt to Spill; The Shins; Flaming Lips; Arcade Fire
That's not the same thing as comparing them. I like The Shins and Modest Mouse. I know many MM fans who like The Shins. I know many Shins fans who like MM. It's a musical taste comparison, not a straight up "The Shins are like Modest Mouse" or vice versa.

But in all honestly, there are comparisons to be drawn between their body of work. Other than that, James Mercer also worked with the band on We Were Dead and they've also toured together.

So....
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