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Album Reviews: Modest Mouse – No One’s First, and You’re Next | Sonic Youth – The Eternal | Son Volt – American Central Dust | Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs | Dinosaur Jr. – Farm

A few big names released albums while I’ve been away the last couple months so here’s a brief recap:

Modest Mouse No Ones FirstModest Mouse – No One’s First, and You’re Next

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MP3: Modest Mouse – The Whale Song

Any time a band as huge as Modest Mouse drops a new album there’s usually plenty of fanfare and press to go around, but this EP came out to relatively little attention.  But I suppose it’s easy to be dwarfed by new singles by Radiohead and Jay-Z and Kanye West, and the news of the Beatles remasters to be released on the 40th anniversary of their break-up. No One’s First and You’re Next is definitely worth checking out if you were a fan of the last two productions.  Although the EP is made up of songs that didn’t fit on those albums thematically, the sound is consistent and it’s generally easy to see which songs came from which session.

There’s nothing bad on here, in fact the quality of songwriting is very high, with none of the self-indulgent repetition that afflicted this band’s outtakes and studio sessions in their early years. It’s not cohesive from one song to the next, but you shouldn’t expect it to be since it wasn’t recorded with a theme in mind. This eclecticism goes a long way to making the record feel more lightweight than the slightly overwrought Modest Mouse that appeared on the last two albums. It’ll be fun to see whether they can grow without heavy guitars in the same way The Flaming Lips did in their second decade.

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