No One’s First, and You’re Next
This eight-song EP is a collection of unreleased tracks that didn’t make the cut on the last two Modest Mouse albums, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank and Good News for People Who Love Bad News. The indie-rock quartet dabbles outside of its usual pop-rock sweet spot, taking a leisurely amount of time to finally settle into “The Whale Song” (which has consistently appeared in the band’s recent live performances)—singer Isaac Brock waits several instrumental verses before uttering a single word. The exceptional “I’ve Got It All (Most)” is Brock’s songwriting at its finest: driving, surf-clean guitar quickly escalates to a hammering, distorted-in-unison chorus that is sonically color-matched with the frontman’s pitched shouts. Another standout, “Perpetual Motion Machine,” plods along with shuffling handclaps and a 1980s sitcom-soundtrack horn section contrasted with lyrical ponderings: “Well, you hear the fish and they’re making this sound/Saying, ‘we just want to go on walking around/And feel what it’s like to fall down’/ … Everyone wants to be a perpetual motion machine/We all try harder as the days run out.” B-side material or not, No One’s First is a worthy addition to the discography.