Modest Mouse: Strangers To Ourselves

3 May

Strangers To Ourselves is a landmark album for Modest Mouse, and the most recent pinnacle in what has so far been an all-up trajectory.

After 21 years (the band having formed in 1993), Modest Mouse’s sound continues to diversify, Strangers To Ourselves housing moments both softer (“Strangers To Ourselves”; “Coyotes”) and wilder (“Pistol”; “Sugar Boats”) than ever before.

While this is one of those rare albums on which every song is notable in and of itself, “Ansel” is a gut-twisting standout.

Housed in a calmly melancholic melody combined with upbeat, driving percussion, the song reflects on the death of lead singer Isaac Brock’s brother in a hiking accident, noting resignedly that

You can’t know
You can’t ever really know
Would you really want to know
How the hell would you know
The last time that you ever see another soul

“Ansel” encapsulates the album in its diversity: not angered, joyous or grieving, but defeated as it reflects on our surroundings.

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