Modest Mouse - Sad Sappy Sucker
Label: K Records
Release: April 24, 2001
"Self pity, me so pitiful. You can see that birds and worms don't get along"
So begins a blast from the past from Brock and company. Sad Sappy Sucker was originally intended to be Modest Mouse's debut record but remained unreleased until shortly after The Moon & Antarctica arrived. In a nutshell, this collection of unreleased/Dial-A-Song tracks will appeal mainly to big fans of the band. Listening to the music sixteen years later and with a much more impressive resume to the band's name, makes Sad Sappy Sucker more than just lackluster. Indeed, to be blunt, it isn't very good.
The tracks don't come without merit, however. For instance, "Worms Vs. Birds" is a good tune and one can imagine how better it would have sounded in 1994 when most of the tracks were recorded. Brock's voice is young but musically you can see the first signs of This Isa Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About or even Lonesome Crowded West.
The next good tune isn't until track ten with "Every Penny Fed Cat". The song originally appeared on the "Birds vs. Worms" 7" that appeared in 1997 on a limited pressing of 500 copies on blue vinyl. Jeremiah Green's pounding drums make the song standout, even if Brock's vocals and lyrics aren't as fully developed.
"Mice Eat Cheese" is an enjoyable track with a slow brooding drumline and dreamy guitar work. Brock sings, "What are you doing here? I came to get a case of factory outlet beer, then I go home. I don't feel like I want to be by myself." Clearly, Brock was able at the age of nineteen to write great lines and practice has made (near) perfect.
After the initial twelve songs, comes a series of Dial-A-Song tracks. A good portion of them were released on the vinyl only EP Blue Cadet 3, Do You Connect? Yes, it's like They Might Be Giants. They're funny but not much more than that.
Overall, Sad Sappy Sucker has some good tunes that even casual Modest Mouse fans would like. I cleverly pointed them out to you so that you don't purchase the whole album. This is a release by fans, for fans.