Modest Mouse: The Lonesome, Crowded West

27 Apr

In The Lonesome, Crowded West (1997), Modest Mouse takes a step forward out of the shouty but memorable haze they created with This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About (1996)1.

In their second studio album, the band’s all-round sound is bolder as vocals and melodies more distinct, but the album really slides into its groove of brilliance at the start of track five: “Jesus Christ Was An Only Child”: a tune reminiscent of something sung collectively around a campfire, set apart instrumentally by slide guitar and folky violin from Tyler Reilly (not a permanent band member).

The songs on this album are also more diverse: from the rock-and-roll drive in “Doin’ The Cockroach” through the acoustic, folk/western beginning of “Styrofoam Boots/It’s All Nice On Ice, Alright” and the melancholic, indie-rock swaying of “Bankrupt On Selling”, to the poignant, lullabyish “Trailer Trash”, a melodic style the band is now known for.

Drawing on a wider range of genres, The Lonesome, Crowded West builds on the solid foundation Modest Mouse carved out with This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About.

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