Modest Mouse are a band of quirk and quick wit. Fast approaching thirty years of existence, their latest album release, The Golden Casket, is a clever project of optimism and hope. It seems like a lifetime ago since the Oregon octet’s heyday, but the North-Western ensemble are going stronger than ever with their newest effort.
Choosing an album opener can either be a no-brainier or a thankless and long-drawn-out endeavour. The Golden Casket’s opener, Fuck This Acid Trip, might not be the obvious choice, but within a minute or so it all makes sense. The track is as perturbing as it is awesome; perhaps attempting to emulate an acid trip through the medium of music. The outcome is a pretty great song, and the cult-like chanting will get that head bobbing.
Second track, We Are Between, is an indie rock corker. Consisting a comforting and perfectly pleasing riff, the verse is nice if a bit vanilla. However, all crimes are atoned by the time that chorus raises the roof. The song becomes as catching as coronavirus, and more fun than bouncing on a bouncy castle after consuming too much alcohol at your god-daughter’s christening.
Walking And Running is a nifty number that’s guaranteed to get your feet shuffling. There’s an urgency and coolness partying its way through the track, and it feels like the song is begging for an accompanied choreographed routine. A true highlight of the album.
As with almost any album in history, fillers are unfortunately an inevitability. How can artists produce consistently good songs within the confines of one album? Modest Mouse are no exception to this rule. Transmitting Receiving is the album filler – a long one at that – but it stands alone as the one subpar song on The Golden Casket.
The standout tracks are the already-released singles. The Sun Hasn’t Gone and Leave A Light On were rightly selected as the album’s initial singles. Their optimism and essence of hope is beautiful, and their festival-ready feel is up there with the very best of any the fun-time festival jams. When these songs finally reach the festival circuits, you better believe that frenzied euphoria will wave across those muddy, beer-soaked fields.
Ending the album is the oddly named, Back To The Middle. It’s a fitting end to an album of warmth and charm. Permitting some serious overdrive to augment the track only adds to its power as an album closer, and rounds off the end to a successful album.
The Golden Casket is a solid effort. All the songs trickle nicely into the next, and the production quality is high. Modest Mouse are never going to better the success that accompanied their breakthrough album, Good News For People Who Love Bad News, but The Golden Casket is a strong example of a band who continue to entertain, whilst still making music the way they want to make it.