Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West (Cover Artwork)

Modest Mouse

The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)


Honestly, I can't find a better band than these guys. I have tried and tried, but Modest Mouse just puts too much on the table. I mean, come on, they're just so sincere and earnest, something lacking from a lot of bands these days.

The Lonesome Crowded West is in my top ten list of all time. It sits comfortably ahead of The Weakerthan's Left and Leaving as number one. Why do I love this record so much? It's hard to place your finger on it. It might have something to do with Isaac Brock's wide vocal range, from whiny (in a good way), to low and quiet. It might be Eric Judy's perfect bass, lying just below Brock's intricate guitar work. Or it might be Jeremiah Green's creative, funky drums. Hell, maybe it's just a mix of all three.

The CD kicks off with a bang, the opening song titled "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine." It's actually more like 3 or 4 songs in one, but that's the way Brock likes it. The rest of the CD is a journey, visiting such characters as Cowboy Dan, and taking a tour of the country in Trucker's Atlas. By far the most powerful song on the CD is Trailer Trash, a deeply heartfelt story of what might be Brock himself in the trailer park. If you get one song off the CD to sample it, it should be this one. Other notable songs include Doin' the Cockroach, Lounge (Closing Time), and Jesus Christ Was an Only Child.

As what has come to be an absolute with all Modest Mouse records, it is composed beautifully, changing moods at just the right time. Edgy at times, serene at others, downright sad at still other points, Modest Mouse's sound is decidedly unpolished, on purpose. They pull it off better than anyone I've yet to hear.

I sincerely hope you have this record, and if not, I pity you. If you buy one album this year, make it this one. You won't regret some reviewer using words to make you spend your money on yet another CD.