Every few years, Modest Mouse builds up enough odds and ends to warrant a compilation, but unlike with most bands, MM’s leftovers often end up among its best. (For evidence, see “Never Ending Math Equation” from 2000’s Building Nothing Out Of Something, or “Night On The Sun” from 2001’s Everywhere And His Nasty Parlour Tricks.) No One’s First, And You’re Next mostly features outtakes from 2007’s Johnny Marr-assisted We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, which were released over the last few months on limited-edition 7-inch singles. Fans of the nautical-themed disc (and of the so-called “Marrdest Mouse” in general) will find plenty to love here: “Satellite Skin” finds Isaac Brock in his radio-friendliest mode since “Float On,” tempering feral shouts with sweet backing vocals and half-resigned melodies, while “Guilty Cocker Spaniels” is one of his itchiest, crankiest, and best in years, switching from a cracked-vocal half-rap to a towering pile of layered guitars. “Perpetual Motion Machine” sounds straight off Good News For People Who Love Bad News, mostly because The Dirty Dozen Brass Band shows up to contribute a swampy New Orleans vibe. So while it doesn’t exactly have the cohesive through-line of Modest Mouse’s epic full-lengths, No One’s First still captures solid energy from a band riding a long-ass peak.
More from The A.V. Club