I once knew this girl out west who was typically dismissive of Modest Mouse, true to hipster form (you either love them or you love yourself too much), and she was all, Yeah, I loved Lonesome Crowded West… in that holier than thou voice… and dammit she was right. The reigning Mouse LP. I know they did “Doin’ the Cockroach,” “Trailer Trash” and “Bankrupt on Selling” at the show I saw, but “Trucker’s Atlas” is definitely a fave of mine. The whole thing flows really well, and there’s even a sort of rondo formed by similar chord progressions and tempos of track 02 “Heart Cooks Brain” and track 09 “Out of Gas.” I still love what Ryan Schreiber of pitchfork wrote about them in the Crowded review, something like: “Usually when you’re dealing with bands who are at the age of 21, the operative word is ‘potential.’ Modest Mouse, however, have arrived.”
And then they went on to rate The Moon and Antarctica even higher, which I can respect, I guess. There is, after all, an incredible feeling evinced by this album, as well as an incredible backstory surrounding it of lead singer Isaac Brock getting his jaw broken by a stranger in a group of people on the streets of Chicago, and having to undergo a huge operation in the days leading up to recording. Also, for sheer proximity to what a lot of people unfortunately think is their first album — Good News for People Who Love Bad News with “Float on” — The Moon and Antarctica tends to get more press. If you’re discussing music that’s fun, though — expressly invigorating as opposed to expressly soothing — it’s all the scrappy rocker from ’98.