Modest Mouse: This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About

27 Apr

Modest Mouse is playing at Parklife in Johannesburg (where I live now) this Sunday.

While I’ve always loved Modest Mouse’s uncommon blend of wild emotional fervor with instrumental precision in unconventional yet catchy melodies, I have never properly dived into their discography. I always listen to music more closely when I’m writing about it, so over the next few days I’ll be posting short reviews of each of Modest Mouse’s six studio albums.


This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About (1996), released almost twenty years ago, presents a band whose riotous vocals in combination with their considerable compositional talent obstinately proves that passion and control are not mutually exclusive.

Seething with  societal critique, “Beach Side Property” and “Head South” reflect the band’s characteristic shifts between contemplative quiet and mutinous din, the latter made richer by beautific backing harmonies from vocalist Nicole Johsnon (not a permanent band member), while “Tundra/Desert” is a mad romp through the band’s wilder terrain.

I am most taken in by the album’s slower and more mournful tracks, like “Dramamine” and “Custom Concern”, my certain favourite being “Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset” for its blunt tackling of the privileged angst of the middle class mid-twenties – the primary blight of the indie audience, which most of the genre’s bands go to pains to express more delicately.


One Response to “Modest Mouse: This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About”


  1. Modest Mouse: The Lonesome, Crowded West | Sound & Fury - 27 April 2015

    […] 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. […]

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