Modest Mouse – Float On

Modest Mouse
Float On

The last time I saw Modest Mouse was on the Ultimate Sunshine tour in Berkeley, CA, and lead singer Isaac Brooke didn’t seem too happy. Organized by Cake, the tour was meant as a traveling mini-festival, a kind of Tiny-Lalooza with indie bigwigs like The Flaming Lips and De La Soul. There was a pretty nice vibe about the whole thing; the sun was shining, bands were joining each other on stage, God was in his kingdom. You get the general idea.

Yet the ‘Mouse didn’t seem happy. Snarling about ‘having to play in the middle of the afternoon’ and telling people shouting out for their favourite songs that there was ‘no WAY I’m playing that,’ the band grunged through a noisy, distorted set and left. The crowd shrugged, and waited for The Flaming Lips to inject some fun back into the festival. Happy Vibes 1; Modest Mouse 0. Well shoot, I thought at the time – what was I expecting? It’s not like Modest Mouse were known for their life-affirming, cheer-injecting anthems. Right?

Wrong. I take it all back. Four years on from the band’s last album, The Moon and Antartica, it looks like Isaac Brooke’s been popping the pills like a Pacman on Prozac; how else do you explain the new single, “Float On?” A 4/4 beat last heard on the Bee Gees “Night Fever” starts up, a trebly guitar riff straight out of a Chic record grooves from the speakers, and Brooke shrugs his shoulders and sings “I backed my car into a cop car the other day… well he just drove off sometimes life’s ok.” What? “Life’s ok”? Just what the hell is going on here? In the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter, because the song is 3 minutes and 30 seconds of pure pop magic. It bodes well for the upcoming album: just pray that Brooke doesn’t go cold turkey on us. Choose the red pill, Isaac.