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Their First Is Their Best
on September 3, 2014
Although the overall approach is closely duplicated on "The Lonesome Crowded West," Modest Mouse's first full length "This Is A Long Drive..." is more lush than its follow-up -- probably due to cellos. Still, the similarity between the two makes "...Drive..." -- being the first -- seem more original.
Unpredictable arrangements keep the listener guessing; making the songs almost unknowable. They feel new even with repeated listenings. The vocals throughout swing from plaintive to the screams of a Tourette's sufferer who is alternatively anguished then furious. The album is replete with Modest Mouse's trademark guitar riff that is reminiscent of a seagull's cry.
The opening guitars often remind me of Pere Ubu's first two works.
The general sound is like early Violent Femmes coming down from crack or almost any Half Japanese record.
Ironically, and despite the album's title, it makes great long distance driving music. The cacophony that erupts suddenly from spacy, pretty passages ensures the driver won't nod off at the wheel.
Besides, sometimes thinking is overrated.
Standout tracks: Ohio, Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset
Pairs well with: The Pixies, Pavement or Pere Ubu's "Modern Dance" & "Dubhousing" for continuity, or an ambient symphonic or electronic instrumental for contrast.
Best served: During a long distance drive.