Modest Mouse. Loved by all, right? From the swollen, my-head-is-surprisingly-too-big-for-my-already-oversized-body jocks, to the socially inept, never-going-to-get-laid-cause-I-dress-weird indie kids, they are esteemed by the masses. Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock, a man who hates the world (who can blame a man who sounds like a drunken Cindy Brady?) released his side project Ugly Casanova in 2002 and teamed up with John Orth for Sub Pop’s newest creation, Holopaw.
Holopaw’s self-titled release would most likely be filed in the alt-country genre, but do not despair, dear indie rockers. Their sound virtually oozes country, but with cleverly spliced bits of electronic sound throughout the CD to keep it fresh. Think of Whiskeytown/Ryan Adams meeting the vocals of Songs: Ohia and then dousing it with the creative minimalism of Smog. Holopaw’s originality comes from a Deep-South sound (brah, we’re talking fiddles and all) that’s surprisingly unhickish. Don’t get me wrong, I still have an urge to hop on a fan boat in Arkabama and go huntin’ for possum while listening to this CD, but with dog-eared copies of Nietzsche, Pynchon and Joyce faithfully at my side for the whole ride.
Lyrically, there is a definite nature-based theme that is well thought out, offering the personal honesty and originality that one wishes every lyricist could magically produce. The album artwork could use a little work, but mimics the simplicity of their music. Overall, Holopaw shows itself as a well-done CD the South and civilized people alike can be proud of.
[Gary Epper is currently checking ticket prices for a weekend rendezvous in Arkansas]