Certain albums appear to forecast the cultural mood. Modest Mouse's major-label debut, The Moon and Antarctica, was one of those. Released in 2000, when the world still seemed pretty OK, it foretold a terrifying, feral existential breakdown -- something like Radiohead's "Karma Police," but with the piano balladry jettisoned in favor of math-rock tempo changes and cascading guitar noise.
What registered three years ago as musically accomplished musings from the definitely peculiar mind of Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock now sounds eerily topical, however -- not least due to the record's subliminal, plaintive hopefulness. And if you haven't listened to the record recently, it's as sonically bracing as it was the first time, a headphone album if ever there was one. Modest Mouse live shows are more direct and less subtle than the recordings, but inasmuch as the Cassandra-esque band should be showing off some new material on its latest round of dates, it's probably worth checking out -- if only to see which way the karmic wind is blowing.
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