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Moon & Antarctica


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Audio CD, June 13, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

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With their interstellar (really!) lyrics and angular song structures, Modest Mouse tend to defy their self-deprecating band name. In truth, the trio's got some lofty ambitions, and The Moon and Antarctica indulges their grand dreams with pristine production and a vivid sonic backdrop. It also dives deeply into their geographical obsessions--always with the same subjective twists that made The Lonesome Crowded West and This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About such inspired wonders. Isaac Brock opens Moon with meditations on the universe's shape--all twisted into such a solipsistic tangle that they illuminate immediately how much these songs are about the mind as about the world. Rarely giving off the cage-jarring thickness of guitar rock, Moon's 15 tunes are shaped around vignettes of a disheveled head figuring out the rambling disconnections of postmodern society. Guitars wobble, Brock wails on vocals, and his band mates--Eric Judy and Jeremiah Green--help take each song away from any predictable formula and toward wherever they seem to want to go. This is a band as profoundly touched by suburbia as was writer Harold Brodkey. You can imagine Brock, Green, and Judy lying on wide-open lawns, philosophizing about the shape of the universe and coming up with lyric moments like this (sung to folky, spare acoustic guitar): "A wild pack of family dogs came running through the yard and as my own dog ran away I didn't say much of anything at all / A wild pack of family dogs came running through the yard as my little sister played; the dogs took her away, and I guess she was eaten up, okay." Replays of American Beauty, anyone? --Andrew Bartlett

1. 3rd Planet
2. Gravity Rides Everything
3. Dark Center Of The Universe
4. Perfect Disguise
5. Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes
6. A Different City
7. The Cold Part
8. Alone Down There
9. The Stars Are Projectors
10. Wild Pack Of Family Dogs
11. Paper Thin Walls
12. I Came As A Rat
13. Lives
14. Life Like Weeds
15. What People Are Made Of

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 13, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: June 13, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00004TTCJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (259 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,439 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Tom Aiken on July 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
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.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Erik Russell Olson on December 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD
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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kazuo on April 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
"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.
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take all of this weak pop and emo and nerd crap off the punk rock...
I agree with Shdwfthsun. What in the hell does this have to do with Modest Mouse? Modest Mouse is not a punk band, Modest Mouse is not trying to be a punk band, Modest Mouse has never been called a punk band. Your post is irreverent to Modest Mouse.
Jan 1, 2009 by R. Fodo |  See all 4 posts
Is there any difference?
This is from the Modest Mouse newsletter, "With remastered audio and restored artwork from the original 2000 release". The 2004 release has a few bonus tracks that this one does not have. I have this one on order (Scheduled delivery on the third) I'll write a review then stating if... Read More
Sep 1, 2010 by R. Fodo |  See all 2 posts
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