Indie Rock band Modest Mouse recently reissued their debut album This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About, which was released in 1996 on Up Records. Staff writer Will Butler had some words to say about this special reissue, and how it has impacted his life, in ways more than one.
For many currently aged between 16-30, Indie-Rock has played a huge part of development, maturity and expression. For the most part, an unexplainable angst acts as the moderator for any outburst or existential crises; Indie Rock is both the shoulder to weep on and the punching bag to vent upon.
I’d make a case that their isn’t a finer record to encapsulate this inescapable period of life and all associated growing pains. Modest Mouse have always been there for me, through all the messiness, frustration, unknown, friends both new and lost – Long Drive finds masterpiece status in it’s realism.
However, I’d make a point not to describe it as seminal. A word that connotes some cultural significance and widely exaggerate impact (see The Beta Band or The Flaming Lips). Modest Mouse, a three piece at this point, surpass that in their mantra. Brock writes with a sharp cynicism and a knack for letting you in on the inside jokes, just read the title of the record.
Pushing an hour and a quarter, Long Drive isn’t a easy listen. It challenges patience, sensibilities and tolerance for the imperfect. While recent MM releases have been polished and Marr-d by maturity; it was an inevitability. What makes Long Drive and the follow up record Lonesome Crowded West so resonant is Brock’s songwriting and vocals. His honesty and bare bones approach to social situations while his trademark lisp is humanizing in the softer moments and feral in it’s wilder eruptions embedded on the creeping feeling of non-existence that comes on “Exit Does Not Exist.”
What makes Long Drive so important to me is what I learned from it. While the beauty of music as an art form is found in emotional reflection. Modest Mouse taught me what I hadn’t fully processed: that it’s okay to be bitter, upset or frustrated, it’s where genuine honesty can be derived from. Thematically, Long Drive covers all the bases before the follow up, LCW, possibly a objectively stronger record, started flinging shit at American consumer culture.
For many, the clunky guitar lines, brutal vocal deliveries and sinister undertones will act as a deterrent. To that I can only feel vindication, Long Drive is a record for those looking to make an effort, scrap with it, draw blood and most importantly, find solace. I guess we’re a miserable lot, us Indie-Rock fans, huh?
FAV TRACKS: All of Them
LEAST FAV TRACKS: None