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Music Review: Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica (Vinyl)

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God bless Modest Mouse! To celebrate the tenth anniversary of their The Moon & Antarctica album, they have reissued it as a two-disc vinyl edition. Yes, music fans that is correct: it has returned in vinyl form.

The music has been remastered and, as well, the original artwork has been restored. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl it proves that when done correctly, a record can sound as good as a CD. Also included is a full album download card.

Modest Mouse helped define alternative rock and this, their third full studio work and the first to be issued on a major label, was their best and most influential. The Moon & Antarctica was also their breakthrough, both commercially and artistically, earning the group a gold record award for sales. At the time of this release Modest Mouse consisted of guitarist/vocalist Isaac Brock, drummer Jeremiah Green, and bass player Eric Judy.

The textures and style of the material travels in a number of directions. Steel guitars, violins, keyboards, and additional percussion give it a unique sound, especially for the alternative rock scene of the day. Brock’s vocals take a little getting used to but within the context of the music they are fine. The lyrics are introspective, mind challenging, and contain wonderful imagery, both real and imagined.

There is a lot of music contained here as fifteen tracks clock in at a few seconds short of an hour. “3rd Planet” is reflective, sad and, in an odd way, relaxing. “Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes” contains distorted vocals built upon a foundation of bass and percussion. “The Cold Part” contains an acoustic guitar and violin. “The Stars Are Projectors,” the longest song at just under nine minutes, meanders and builds to a crescendo before settling back down, all the while maintaining its melodic content. “A Different City” is traditional alternative rock at its best.

Buyers should be aware that the music is the same as the original release. The remixed 2004 CD reissue contained four bonus tracks, but they are not included here.

Fans of Modest Mouse will already have the music and will need to decide whether they want it in another form. If, on the other hand, you have not been introduced to their music this is the place to start. God bless Modest Mouse!

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