After 8 years of a somewhat turbulent recording process, Modest Mouse finally released their newest album ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ in early 2015. Despite a couple dropped singles, Modest Mouse went MIA for these 8 years – probably due to their struggle with deciding a producer and their founding bassist, Eric Judy, quitting the band – but they managed to finish their album without completely losing the original and unique sound that they created in the ‘90s. While their transformation from indie rock legends into superstardom has not influenced their music necessarily negatively, it also has not pushed them any further to change. ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ does not reveal any new modifications or tweaks in their method of songwriting, and almost comes off as an addition to their last two albums, but one difference a Modest Mouse fan may notice is the increasing positivity in their music compared to the constant aspect of depression that their original style was founded on. Songs such as “The Best Room” and “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box,” offers the listener to smile and head-bump simultaneously.
While Isaac Brock’s talent for writing lyrics has not necessarily diminished, they certainly have not flourished, and some songs appear to be somewhat of a lecture. In the songs “Coyotes” and “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box,” Brock’s lyrics come off as too explicit about the world around him, while his earlier writing was so appealing due to the ambiguity and obvious emotional factors within them. ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ is by no means a failed album – they managed to keep the indie routes that makes them Modest Mouse, even through multiple mass hits and media popularity – but this recent album has not blown anyone away, especially given its long awaited birth. But, they do not plan to stop making music any time soon, as Brock stated in an interview that they would release another full-length “as soon as legally possible.”