40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just when I had about given up on contemporary rock...
The year two-thousand reminds me a lot of 1990. Various dance pop groups and a style of mainstream that has completely stangnated. Most of my interest with rock music has been waiting for the next Radiohead album. In spite of this I try to keeb tabs on the "indie-rock" culture, and pick up an occassional album I really enjoy. After seeing a couple of...
Published on July 13, 2000 by Tom Aiken
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Issue with the press quality: Side 1 lead out and lock groove
I'm not rating on the quality of the music, because if you are buying vinyl, chances are you know that the music is good.
So, I was a little surprised to see some vinyl shavings still on the record when I took it out (kinda just on the edge of it). When I went to put it on my turntable, I was also surprised to see that the hole was too small on the vinyl for my...
Published on October 29, 2011 by Kevin Saxon
Most Helpful First | Newest First
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just when I had about given up on contemporary rock...,
The year two-thousand reminds me a lot of 1990. Various dance pop groups and a style of mainstream that has completely stangnated. Most of my interest with rock music has been waiting for the next Radiohead album. In spite of this I try to keeb tabs on the "indie-rock" culture, and pick up an occassional album I really enjoy. After seeing a couple of really favorable reviews of The Moon and Anarctica I decided to pick it up when released. My first impression was that it was very good but now it has become one of very few rock albums in the past five years which have earned near non-stop rotation in my CD player.
Modest Mouse is one of a very selective group to successfully blend all of the streams for rock's leanings into post-modernism. Basically its clear to that this album stems from the indie scene but has grown to be a bit more well-rounded. There's a lot of Pixies pop-punk present but also a lot of Radiohead or Pink Floyd spaciness. A lot of the lyrics (which are brilliantly nonsensical) even have some kind of space theme going. Producer Brian Deck has done a magnificent job giving the songs an extremely detailed and dense sound while retaining the raw, bleeding, amateurish sound of the band.
In the end what makes the album is a strong group of diverse sounding songs that are seamlessly brought together for a nice cohesive listen. Many of the songs feature delicate echoey guitar lines, while others are impressively visceral punk outings. Thrown in occassionally are odd supporting instruments like banjo or violin. The songs are complicated enough to take a bit of getting used to but hold on up for obsessive listening. Modest Mouse are all still in their early to mid-twenties and have substantial room to polish and complete their sound. Given that Moon and Antarctica is a near-masterpiece and my early pick for album of the year. Time to go check out the rest of their catalogue. Highly recommended for those who looking for freshness in their rock.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes some time to work its magic,
I bought this CD a few months ago on a whim, just to find out what the buzz was about. I figured that a CD with almost twenty tracks on it had to have something I would like somewhere in there. And as it turns out, I was right.
There is a lot that makes Modest Mouse unusual, from this newbie's perspective. Isaac Brock's voice takes some getting used to, for one thing. He sounds damaged, vulnerable, innocent, almost childlike sometimes, and although you wouldn't think those qualities would add up to a good singer, his style really works when the music and lyrics are right.
"3rd Planet," the album's opener, is one of the songs I liked immediately. It's self-effacing, introspective, reflective, and maybe just a little sad. As far as I can tell from the lyrics, "3rd Planet" is about a couple who chooses to have an abortion. Not a pretty subject, but we don't just listen to music to feel good. "Gravity Rides Everything" works well too, feeling like the theme song for an extended, weary road trip.
Another moody track is "The Cold Part." Violins, acoustic guitar, and a loping drumbeat serve as the backdrop to a failing relationship. Initially this song seems almost comical in its gloom, but there is a thoughtful sincerity to it, completely devoid of irony, that makes you reconsider. "The Stars Are Projectors" alternates between loud and soft sequences with more or less the same underlying sentiment of solitude and loss.
There are some moments on The Moon and Antarctica that fall a bit flat, or are just too languid for their own good, but for the most part the album has a cohesive, mournful feel to it that really "works" and makes Modest Mouse distinctive. Occasionally this is conveyed with humor (such as with the disco thump of "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes"), but for the most part The Moon and Antarctica uses long, meandering songs with brief stabs of guitar-and-drum catharsis to bleed out the pain. The imagery of planets and stars -- already heavily suggestive of isolation and extreme cold -- helps keep the songs together thematically, and provides a tangible environment for the drama to play out.
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I bought this album, but I can definitely say I am happy with it.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you own it already, you're not missing out.,
First of all, to the major-label-cynical idiots, this album was originally released on Epic to begin with. The label it is on has nothing to do with the content, and the fact that this is their fourth proper album and an appropriate step in their evolution is the more important consideration to make. Moving on.
This album is absolutely transcendent. I listened to it when I first bought it about two years ago and had my likes and dislikes, but upon maybe my thirtieth or fortieth listen, the significance and meanings hit me.
Each song on this album is a piece of a greater puzzle. Sure, if someone tells you to buy this album and you go and download "The Cold Part" and "What People Are Made Of," you're not going to be thrown back in your seat. This is an album in the truest sense of the world, not a collection of radio-ready songs, and the imagery from the production and the sequencing on the album is truly amazing.
Is the re-release necessary? Very debatable, but I feel it isn't. The album's emotional and appropriate end is definitely at its original point, after "What People Are Made Of," and not after a retread of "Tiny Cities."
If you don't already own this album, do not hesitate to buy it, it is an album that fans of any type of rock music will appreciate and love, not just indie fans. If you already own this album, look at your wallet and see if you can justify $15 for average re-treads of songs you already know and love. Five stars for the original album, minus one for the value/necessity quotient.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drifty and surreal...,
"The Moon & Antarctica", although not Modest Mouse's most accessible album, is definitely their best work, and proof that signing on to a major label doesn't ALWAYS mean that something bad is about to happen (although it usually does...*grumble* ¬.¬).
First off, this album has little in common with the band's other efforts; this one is far more atmospheric and has more of a Radiohead/Pink Floyd influence instead of The Pixies influence of some of their other songs. Most of the anger and frustration from the Lonesome Crowded West is gone, and replaced with a subdued, icy, beautiful mood that stretches over many of the songs.
The Moon & Antarctica is at it's best during it's spaciest, driftiest moments, which can be found on the GORGEOUS, floating, overlapping guitar layers of "Gravity Rides Everything" (the perfect songs to play while watching the moon rise in the evening sky), the simple, raindrop-like acoustic flutters on "Perfect Disguise", the jaw dropping, shape-shifting 9 minute epic "The Stars Are Projectors" (which could very well explain all of existence), and the equally brilliant shapeshifter "Life Like Weeds".
As usual, Modest Mouse's lyrics are nothing short of absolutely stunning; the day I find a band that can top profound statements like "God is a woman, the woman is an animal, the animal is a man, and that's you" or "Was there a need for creation that was hidden in a math equation that asks this: Where do circles begin?" is the day I saw my ears off and stop listening to music (which I assure you isn't anytime soon). This could very easily be seen as a concept album about life, death, existence, religion, and the way the universe works.
Many people say that this album is as good as "OK Computer" in terms of life-changing albums; They don't say that for no reason. Reccomended for anyone who can handle weighty subject matter and equally hypnotic soundscapes to match it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this and let it grow on you,
If you haven't heard Modest Mouse before but are intrigued, this is the album to buy. Modest Mouse is an unusual band, and it can be kind of hard to get into their music. Most of their other albums are not very accessible, and some of it is hard to even call music at all. While Good News for People Who Love Bad News is also a bit easier to get into, it's just not as good as The Moon & Antarctica.
Modest Mouse kind of sounds like what would happen if you took some instruments and made sounds on them until something sounded good, and then someone really talented pasted them together into coherent songs but put weird twists on them just for fun. On this album the resulting melodies are easier to get to like. Isaac Brock's voice is used particularly effectively (and generally not annoyingly) here. It may get on your nerves, though.
Here's roughly what the tracks are like:
1. 3rd Planet - flows along smoothly and sweetly (as much as Modest Mouse ever does), rather relaxing song and very good.
2. Gravity Rides Everything - was used in an advertisement, similar in feel to the first track but more of a strumming theme.
3. Dark Center of the Universe - starts to get odd, moves between an ethereal, calm and twangy section and a chanted/screaming chorus.
4. Perfect Disguise - laid-back song, not much momentum.
5. Tiny Cities Made of Ashes - driven by percussion and bass, with strange distorted vocals, a bit of respite from some normal-sounding guitar... definitely takes some time to get to like this one.
6. A Different City - first real rocking song on the album, with a focus on guitar and an excellent group-yell chorus.
7. The Cold Part - drawn out and melodic, mostly instrumental and heavy use of strings, effectively evokes an empty frozen land with its echo.
8. Alone Down There - rocks like A Different City, starts off rather surreal, but then hits you with vocals and then breaks into a powerful guitar riff.
9. The Stars Are Projectors - epic song. Starts off sounding much like Pink Floyd, then flows smoothly into a melodic section, rises to a crescendo, tapers off into something softer, and rises a couple more times before gently fading out.
10. Wild Packs of Family Dogs - quiet, folksy and very melody-based, with cowbells and accordion, very unusual lyrics though.
11. Paper Thin Walls - straightforward indie/alternative song, with discordant interludes.
12. I Came As A Rat - difficult song to describe, a focus on the vocals for the first half, and then meandering guitars against tambourine for the second half.
13. Lives - particularly weird for the first half, and then breaks into a cheery song with acoustic guitar and strings for a bit, then moves back into oddity. Both this and the previous track are difficult to get into.
14. Life Like Weeds - philosophical and back to a bit epic, relaxing, with a great ending where you can close your eyes and let the song pull you away
15. What People Are Made Of - final song on the album proper, and a rather angry one, distorted vocals and driving music, brings the album to a forceful conclusion.
The extra tracks on this remastered version are nice to hear, and worth having, but mostly slightly different angles at songs on the album. The instrumental Custom Concern is good and shows how mainstream Modest Mouse can sound without the vocals.
It's a rare album that repeatedly defies convention but manages to consistently sound good. This one succeeds.
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frosty prettiness,
Look over the glaciers at the cold night sky, sparkling with stars and with a huge full moon overhead. Then imagine the aurora borealis rising up and distorting the night with its raw beauty. That's Modest Mouse's "Moon and Antarctica," now remastered and rereleased with four extra tracks.
"3rd Planet" kicks off the enticingly surreal album with lines like "The universe is shaped exactly like the earth if you go/straight long enough you'll end up where you were." This meditation on the universe stretches over the album, with the warm, mildly achy "Gravity Rides Everything." Things grow darker with the warped, snarling "Different City" and saddening "Perfect Disguise," finally settling on even ground with the folkish "Lives," and the sweeping, magnificent soundscapes of a three-song cycle starting with "Cold Part." Unfortunately, the album is then saddled with "Life Like Weeds" (pretty, but it feels tacked on) and the jarring, raw "What People Are Made Of," which barely seems like the same band.
In the extended version, there are also four tracks from the BBC Radio Sessions: A radio edit of "3rd Planet" (with naughty words bleeped out), a more intimate version of "Perfect Disguise," a catchy instrumental "Custom Concern," and finishes up with a rather blurry version of "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes."
"Moon and Antarctica" is the sort of music that is like looking through a telescope with an iridescent lens. You not only look at things, but they seem to change in an appealing way. The extra tracks are something of a disappointment, however -- they don't have the dark sparkle of the original album, and there aren't very many extras.
The lyrics have the quality of space poetry, very offbeat and not quite connected with the everyday world. They're a little frightening with their exploration of anger, loneliness and misery, but also quite beautiful in their brushes by the very edges of the universe (try listening to this while looking at fractal pictures), and the evocative wording ("And right after I die the dogs start floating up towards the glowing sky").
Fortunately, Modest Mouse doesn't include just the usual guitar-bass-drums riffs. That would be doing an injustice to the music they put out. Forming parts of the smooth music are violins, electronic stretches and a sort of unique sound that brings to mind "Pink Floyd doing folk." Isaac Brock's thin voice always has a sort of distant quality. It's not really a GOOD voice, but like the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, it's an integral part of the music itself.
Edgy, beautiful, melancholy, dark and spacey, "The Moon and Antarctica" is deserving of such royal treatment. The extra tracks are a disappointment, but the original album remains a modern indie classic.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vinyl review for the VC,
This review is from: The Moon & Antarctica (2 LP 10th Anniversary Edition) [Vinyl] (Vinyl)
Great album on 180 gram vinyl. I wish these reviews could differentiate between the different formats such as CD and Vinyl. The vinyl pressing is superb. My only complaint is the album cover is too thin and is easily creased. Two albums in one sleeve. No gatefold. Other than that, this is a great buy, and does include a digital download of the album for mobile devices. How can you go wrong? No need to talk about the artist. There are enough reviews to discuss that.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should we move to the moon? a life like weeds.... . . . ..,
Oh my, oh my - the smack that is being talked about THE modest mice as I write this simple text - it's truly a sight for a true fan's eyes. Now, please be aware, I do not spend idle time on webboards - but if you Google a certain phrase and you end up there - you may as well poke & peek a little. Situation the same if you accidentally stumble upon modest nudity - a couple of glances may just open up a whole new world. Like prison.
When The Moon & Antarctica was originally released on Epic in 2000, the junk was flying around the neighborhoods much as it is tonight: "sellouts" seems to be a big cry from many a critic and "used to be" fan. Punks. This here album is a work of perfection, so when I find out that it is set to be remastered & expanded only 4 years after it's initial release, I am thinking someone knows what the  they're doing in major label land. But how could this album get any better? What needs to be tweaked that I maybe missed before? I sure could use a new copy of it, cause I have worn rings through my original - so let's check it out.
In an interview earlier in the year*, Isaac Brock stated that he has 'been "entirely dissatisfied" with the final mix & album artwork of The Moon & Antarctica'. Is it perfection you are seeking young man, for that is the work of the devil. I've listened to it, the remaster, twice (in a dark room, smoking white stones back-to-back with the original version) - and must be missing the big sha-bang. This album sounds equally as magical as the first time I heard the original 4 years ago, and I only hope that anyone who missed it the first round will now take the discounted opportunity to gather the etheral space that it holds.
As for the "new" artwork - yeah, fantastic job Babok Radboy - it totally fits the feel of the album tilte & all - and blue & orange sure are easy on the eyes. The actual cd art is like a totally inverted version of the cd art from This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Talk About, and maybe this is just another riddle for the listeners - who knows. All said - a huge "how did you get them to do it?" to the boys in Modest Mouse - 'cause you just do not see big labels remastering & repackaging music for anybody these days unless you are dead or accidentally touring again. Maybe it was the hand of god, maybe a payback for the use of a song in a family van commercial. Never the less, they did it.
I'm still confused. In a life like weeds, if you are "just a rock to me" - is this a good thing? Some weeds are simply out of control, but I still feel that the dandelion is a great "flower", not a standard weed. Ever so, if you place a rock atop a dandelion, it crushes the poor thing and stunts further growth. Forever.
3rd Planet (radio edit on BBC) - it's edited, why? oh - radio. It does sound perfect minus this fact. They are a solid band live - SOLID. Also present are substitute lyrics.
Perfect Disguise - again, it sounds as clean as the recorded version, and Isaac's vocals are under 7 feet of watery warble. Another appreciative take on another brilliant song.
Custom Concern (Insrumental) - the third track off of This Is A Long Drive..., only fingersnaps take the plave of vocals. Nice - like buliding a HUGE mouse-like mystery.
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes - Why is Jeremiah Green the best drummer in semi-indie rock, this song alone settles this debate. Layered vocals should again give any fan of the mice flutters in the heart, virgins may find it a touch "scary".
Does anybody know the way to April 6th, 2004?
[ * FILTER 9 / Winter '04 ]
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so modest,
Modest Mouse has signed with Epic, which has afforded the band to be not half as modest, at least not in studio time and production. Each song on this album is meticulously crafted and tweaked; there is not a track that avoids some post-production manipulation. In this sense the album parallels Radiohead's OK Computer to an extent, but that's where the similarities end. Whereas OK Computer is a massively overproduced (in the best possible way) album, The Moon and Antarctica appears to be less an album of self-indulgence and more a seized opportunity to explore new territory for the band. Isaac Brock's lyrics remain as dry and cynical as ever, while the musical arrangements appear to have opened up a great deal to incorporate more extensive use of the violin and bits and pieces of odd electronic effects. "The Stars Are Projectors" is the album's centerpiece, with its off-kilter arrangement and melancholy lyrics, but there are no real disappointments in the album as a whole, whereas past releases often proved to be more on the hit-or-miss side. Highly recommended, despite any reservations of the band joining the major label playing field.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seattle meets Oxford,
I bought the new modest mouse CD with some trepidation...lonesome crowded west had been one of my favorite albums of all time and now that mm was fully equipped with a big label, I was ready for disappointment. By the end of 3rd Planet I had fallen in love with the moon and antarctica. Bleak and yet filled with precise dischordance, the moon and antarctica strikes me as being very similar to radiohead's ok computer, from the feeling one gets while listening to it (thom yorke once described okc as sounding like "white" and "breaking glass," very reminiscent of m&a) to the subject matter of the songs. I'm also glad to see that they utilized the violin that made songs like jesus christ is an only child so striking. If radiohead weren't putting out a new album, I would unreservedly call this the best LP of the year.
Most Helpful First | Newest First