After six long years of waiting, Modest Mouse fans have finally received a new album from Isaac Brock and crew. The Golden Casket was released on June 25th. Right off the bat, it’s apparent that The Golden Casket will try new things and expand the sound that Modest Mouse have built their career on. This album “hovers in the liminal space between raw punk power and experimental studio science.” Furthermore, “frontman Isaac Brock explores themes ranging from the degradation of our psychic landscapes and invisible technology to fatherhood.”
On opening track “Fuck Your Acid Trip,” Brock sings about how he’s through with the good times killing him. He just wants to go home. Sonically, it teases the typical Modest Mouse sound, but it’s darker than expected given the colorful nature of the album cover. “We Are Between,” the album’s lead single, is sort of a return to that typical Modest Mouse sound. It’s got the incredibly precise guitar work and the solid drumming that the band has become known for, and the lyrics are equal parts optimistic and pessimistic.
“We’re Lucky” is also a solid track, but “Walking And Running” is where the Modest Mouse shows that they truly still have it. The guitar and drum work is amazing, and Brock sounds just like he did in the golden age of Modest Mouse. The following tracks, “Wooden Soldiers” and “Transmitting Receiving” are solid, but they sort of blend into the woodwork.
“The Sun Hasn’t Left” is where the production starts to become noticeably inventive. There are some interesting ideas explored here, and they continue into the next song, “Lace Your Shoes.” Modest Mouse decided to use the current indie fascination with mallet instruments – specifically xylophones – in their own music, and it’s definitely a worthy effort. It seems like the old guard trying to remain relevant with the younger generation, but it’s always nice to see artists trying things that people would never have expected from them.
“Never Fuck A Spider On The Fly” is one of the strangest song names ever, and the song follows suit. That being said, it’s the good kind of strange. It’s the kind of strange that makes a listener think about what’s happening. However, there is something that needs to be mentioned: most of these songs are fairly long. They all build to something and warrant their length, but some of them could easily lose a listener halfway through. This might just be a general cultural shift to shorter songs affecting listening habits, but it needs to be mentioned.
All that being said, it’ll be interesting to see how these longer songs translate to a live setting. With Modest Mouse hitting the road this summer and fall to support this album, many listeners will get at least one opportunity to experience these songs live. Some of them will definitely work better than others, but that’s only because that’s the nature of the world, particularly with music and art.
Getting back to the tracklist, though: “Japanese Trees” is amazing. It’s a great instrumental with great production and great lyrics. Definitely a major highlight of this album. The fact that it is the penultimate track is what makes it hit even harder. The final track, “Back To The Middle,” is a great closer. It’s wholesome and uplifting in the instrumental, and the lyrics are generally hopeful, even if the aim more towards the pessimistic hope.
This is, overall, a solid return for Modest Mouse. They tried some new things, they brought back some old stuff, and they kept a similar overall sound. That sound seems to juxtapose the album artwork in most places, but that’s usually been the case for Modest Mouse.
As mentioned before, Modest Mouse will be taking this album on tour. See all tour dates below, and visit http://www.modestmouse.com for more information. As always, let us know what you thought about The Golden Casket!
07/30 – Madison, WI – The Sylvee
07/31 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theater (Lollapalooza aftershow) – SOLD OUT
08/01 – Chicago, IL – Grant Park – Lollapalooza Music Festival
08/03 – Columbus, OH – EXPRESS LIVE! – Indoor Music Hall
08/05 – Philadelphia, PA – The Met Philadelphia
08/06 – Boston, MA – Leader Bank Pavilion
08/07 – Cooperstown, NY – Brewery Ommegang
08/09 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
08/11 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel – SOLD OUT
08/12 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel – SOLD OUT
08/13 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel – SOLD OUT
08/14 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel – SOLD OUT
08/17 – Washington, DC – The Anthem
08/18 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
08/20 – Detroit, MI – Meadow Brook Amphitheatre
08/21 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater
08/22 – Minneapolis, MN – Armory
08/24 – Missoula, MT – KettleHouse Amphitheater
08/27 – Portland, OR – McMenamins – Edgefield – SOLD OUT
08/28 – Portland, OR – McMenamins – Edgefield
08/29 – Bend, OR – Les Schwab Amphitheater
09/11 – Seattle, WA – Marymoor Park * – SOLD OUT
09/12 – Seattle, WA – Marymoor Park*
09/16 – San Francisco, CA – The Masonic
09/18 – Las Vegas, NV – Life Is Beautiful Festival
09/19 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal Theatre
09/20 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre – Tucson – SOLD OUT
09/22 – San Diego, CA – Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
09/24 – Pioneertown, CA – Pappy and Harriet’s – SOLD OUT
09/25 – Los Angeles, CA – The Theatre at Ace Hotel – SOLD OUT
09/27 – Sandy, UT – Sandy City Amphitheater
09/28 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre *
09/30 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom *
10/02 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
10/04 – Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheater *
10/05 – Cincinnati, OH – Andrew J Brady ICON Music Center *
10/07 – Dallas, TX – Irving Music Factory *
10/08 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall *
10/09 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
10/11 – Huntsville, AL – Mars Music Hall
10/12 – New Orleans, LA – Fillmore New Orleans
10/14 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live
10/15 – Miami Beach, FL – Fillmore Miami Beach
10/16 – St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live – SOLD OUT
10/17 – St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
10/19 – Richmond, VA – The National
10/21 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheater
10/22 – Asheville, NC – Rabbit Rabbit
10/24 – Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees Festival – JUST ANNOUNCED
* – with Future Islands