Their unlikely ascension to a major label didn't prevent Pacific Northwest trio Modest Mouse from pulling old-school indie rock moves. In 2000, the band quietly released Night on the Sun, a limited four-song vinyl-only collection, on their early label Up Records. Back on Epic, 2001's nattily named Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks brings the worthy songs on said collection to the light of the majority who have sadly said goodbye to the world of needles and RPM. Completing the EP are three new songs and a subtly beautiful (not to mention weird) instrumental collage of tunes from the full-length The Moon & Antarctica.
Modest Mouse partially owes its success to a knack for balancing atonal, off-the-wall punk sensibilities with perfect pop hooks. Nowhere is this more evident than on "I Came as a Rat (Long Walk Off a Short Dock)," with its emphatic bop-along chants and melodic refrains over a hypnotic, swirling psychedelic soundscape. The threesome also thrives with lyrics both simple and sonorous, like the repeated "you're hopelessly hopeless, I hope so" on the winding "Night on the Sun." Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks stands as a hearty, if too short, release from these unfailing defenders of the lo-fi faith. ~ Jason Thurston