A mixture of comical, candid, and contemplative, the latest Modest Mouse album The Golden Casket is by no means a boring one.
This record is definitely one that kept me interested throughout. With plenty of variety, The Golden Casket is an album that keeps you entertained whilst making you think. The album opener, Fuck Your Acid Trip, is three minutes’ worth of restlessness and, dare I say, mild comedy. The track is meant to be ‘just a song about your friend freaking out on acid’ and perfectly conveys the sense of regret on the part of the narrator after realising that taking acid wasn’t such a good idea: ‘We’re freaking out like the sky is the ground / I’m laughing so hard that it hurts my mouth / But this isn’t my weekend, I should’ve never come out / So fuck this acid trip, I need to come down.’
A little later on we come to the existential third track, We’re Lucky, which addresses the very nature of our existence on planet Earth. Speaking about the song, lead vocalist Isaac Brock says: ‘We’re very lucky to get to be here, on any trip. Whatever this is and whatever we all are, it’s kind of beautiful that we get to do it.’ Combine the song’s theme with the cyclical, pensive nature of the instrumentation and we have a very lovely track indeed.
Elsewhere, one of the highlights of the album is one of the longer tracks, Transmitting Receiving. At over five and a half minutes long, this hypnotising track addresses the technology around us – particularly that which we cannot see. ‘Everything is giving off a frequency,’ Brock says, ‘Everything is vibrating whether you know it or not. We’re swimming in some crazy shit right now – it isn’t visible, but it’s real. I think everyone’s minds are getting a little scrambled right now. And I feel it every fucking day.’
Whilst I can’t say I personally relate to Brock’s comments (or perhaps I’m just not sensitive enough to notice the effects of my WiFi signal), the serene musicality of this track is something to be appreciated – and it is emphasised even more when coupled with the way in which the verses see Brock monotonously reel off a seemingly random list of items that range from defibrillators to crispy chicken.
Meanwhile, one of the more candid songs comes in the form of Lace Your Shoes, a slower, softer track addressed to Brock’s children. Whilst it doesn’t sugar-coat the hardships that life may throw at us (‘I can’t wait to see you go to school / I hate that this will happen but I know that it’ll happen / Someone’s gonna be cruel’), it is nevertheless a sweet song that perfectly encapsulates a protective parent’s feelings of apprehension about watching their child experience the world.
Overall, The Golden Casket from Modest Mouse is not at all a bad album. Whilst it may take a few listens in order to be fully appreciated, there is a track to suit every musical taste.