Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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Sound Check


Modest MouseModest Mouse
“Strangers to Ourselves”


A bit of a footnote, but still worth mentioning: “Strangers to Ourselves” is Modest Mouse’s first album without bassist and founding member Eric Judy. Bands swap members all the time, and very few bands are truly known for what the bassist brings to the table, but Modest Mouse was born in Judy’s garage, so it is not altogether surprising that “Strangers to Ourselves” feels a little lost at times. The good stuff is still there. Front man Isaac Brock is still caterwauling like a deranged man’s version of Bob Dylan, and the band is still willing to take chances with its sonic direction. But while “Strangers to Ourselves” manages to be smart at times and interesting more often than not, it feels a little rudderless. The introspective ballad “Coyotes” is as close as the band manages to get any real emotion, and the rest feels more like a band trying to find a sound, rather than finding a reason. CV


Mark KnopflerMark Knopfler

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Mark Knopfler is to be thanked for one of the most iconic guitar hooks of all time, as literally everybody can identify Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” the instant Knopfler’s Gibson Les Paul starts playing. “Tracker,” Knopfler’s ninth solo album, is tinged with a heavy feeling of nostalgia for those halcyon days. Tracks like “Beryl” and “Long Cool Girl” carry both a running theme of time gone by and a loving musical nod to the high watermark of Knopfler’s commercial success. Knopfler never seems like a man longing for days gone by but rather like someone revisiting an old friend. He knows this music better than we know ourselves, and the album — though safe and hardly envelope-pushing — is comfortable and welcome. CV

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