Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Modest Mouse: No One's First, and You're Next [Epic EP, 2009]
Suffused with zoological imagery and tragicomic despair, Isaac Brock's most likable record comprises eight songs that clock in at precisely 33:33. Irritated by the petty distractions of a success whose end he foresees (and fears), Brock explains how trapped he feels without whining about it. He's especially taken with sea creatures--"Perpetual Motion Machine" is about fish who wish they could walk so they could find out how it feels to fall down, and "Whale Song" bemoans Brock's metaphorical uselessness as it demonstrates his capacity for beauty. A-