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The Good Times Are Killing Me

There is a common notion that when a successful indie band signs to a large record label they turn mainstream and lose their original sound, however, Modest Mouse's latest release manages to keep its original sound while at the same time pleasing the record company by adding a radio oriented mainstream song "Float On" to the album. Over the years, Modest Mouse has proven themselves to be the opposite of a manufactured band; something that is hardly seen in the era of pop-rock which produces mindlessly boring music with no imagination.

If you were ever a fan of the band "Modest Mouse" before their latest hit single, "Float On" then you probably had no intent on buying their latest album "Good news for People Who Love Bad News" because "Float On" kind of seems like their selling out their old sound. However, after buying the disc, I was pleasantly surprised that they have retained their original sound, and Float On is probably the only radio track on the album (this is a good thing) -- but its still a great tune.

The album starts off with the song "The World At Large". This song keeps the true harmonic sound that has somewhat defined the band in recent years. Although it’s a slower tune, the instrumentals mix in well with the tone of the song. The true test to a band is if they can have a dynamic sound that doesn’t always sound like the same mindless tripe over and over, from song to song. "Dance Hall" is a fast upbeat tune with lead singer Isaac Brock screaming into the distorted microphone while backing it up with a dynamic acoustic set and a great bass line.

Modest Mouse focuses on their acoustics while effectively using the wide range of Isaac Brocks vocals to produce a sound that is truly superb. A good example of this is the song "The View". The track features a quick baseline that uses funky picking, a somewhat cheesy but effective keyboard beat, and an excellent distorted guitar. The chorus's flow is entirely opposite of the verse which gives the listener proof of just how good this band can flow together a wide range of different sounds, beats, and melody.

In "Blame it on the Tetons" lead singer Isaac Brock softly proclaims his disdain for the cheesy mainstream age by singing "all them eager actors gladly taking credit for the lines created by the people tucked away from sight." Although some times the lyrics make no sense, at least they are original and not written by some marketing exec on the 50th floor of capitol records -- I truly respect a band that is original and its good to see that there are some artists that feel the same way in this day and age.

The album is concluded with an anthem for all those partiers out there. In "The Good Times Are Killing Me" Modest Mouse doesn’t try to hide the fact that, as rockers, they obviously aren't afraid to try out the party flavors. Brock sings that he's "Fed up with all that LSD. Need more sleep than coke or methamphetamines. Late nights with warm, warm whiskey. I guess the good times they were all just killing me." This offbeat yet acoustically-sound-song gets better and better the more you listen to it. And the title definitely is some what of a proverb.

All in all, compared to their previous work, this album is mature evolution of the band, but the acoustics and vocals are much clearer than Modest Mouse's previous work (perhaps this is due to having better recording studios as a result of the big name record company they signed with)and the sound is even more dynamic; their original style hasn't been hijacked by corporate executives trying to cash in on a bands superb sound and talents. I recommend this album not only to people who enjoyed the previous Modest Mouse albums but also to weary fans sick of the typical mindless tripe that's hijacked North American rock music.

"I don't know how to explain what I do, I really don't. I just write songs" --Isaac Brock

Written by MK Braaten
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