Sad Sappy Sucker, 180G Black Vinyl LP
Isaac Brock and his friends were teenagers when they wrote the songs on Sad Sappy Sucker. Think about the shitty poems you wrote when you were young (I have one that plagiarizes Green Day's "Longview"!) and then listen to the splintered and elusive songs collected on this Modest Mouse release. Clearly, Brock had a head start on seeing things differently from the rest of us.
That is one of the more profound takeaways from the so-called Great Lost Modest Mouse album, a 24-track collection of occasionally brilliant odds and ends that was spared the fate of being the band's introduction to the world. Delays forced them to move on and record This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About before Sad Sappy Sucker could be released. From a historical vantage point, they lucked out-- Sucker has its moments, but they would take a quantum leap from here to This Is a Long Drive.
Nonetheless, a few facets of Modest Mouse's unmistakable sound glint through on these songs, recorded with Calvin Johnson for K Records. There are those eerily pinging bent guitar harmonics, for one, a noise that sounded entirely alien at the time, as well as the way the guitar and bass circled warily around each other without locking, two halves of an endlessly spiraling argument. Jeremiah Green was already an astoundingly talented drummer, one who could fill every inch of available space without overwhelming Brock's harmonically simple songs. -Pitchfork