‘Lampshades On Fire’, a tune that’s been a part of the band’s live sets for about three years now, has all of the elements a casual Modest Mouse listener might expect: riotously bouncy vocals, rollicking guitar, an element of the unusual, a forgivable catchiness.
Certain die-hard fans may disagree, but it personally delights me how much this track is reminiscent of their last album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. It’s been so long since we’ve heard anything new from these guys, and I’m sure that some of us gave up on the hope that we ever would. So now that they’re back, it’s incredibly reassuring to know that they are still deeply recognizable, just like an old friend returning home, sitting down on your bed, and beginning to tell you all of the secrets they’ve been holding in since you’ve been apart.
‘Lampshades On Fire’ will get stuck in your head. And it’s not just the melody (though it’s not not the melody either), but the ever-thought-provoking lyrics. We may be left to wonder individually what “lampshades on fire when the lights go out” really means, but we know it has something to do with our tendency, as humans, to destroy everything we touch and then, without a care, move on to the next.
At the end of the song, Brock blurts out, “Find another planet, make the same mistakes / Our mind’s all shattered when we come and go / Hoping for the scientists to find another globe”. And somehow, it feels completely natural to be driving in our cars, bouncing our knees to the beat, while somewhere in the back of our minds, philosophizing mankind.
No matter how catchy the tune is, it never sounds insincere, or polished, or like something to be dismissively labeled “pop”. In fact, whether Modest Mouse is feeling dark and moody, or way-out-there, or like they’d like to camp out on the soundtrack of The OC for a while, they continue to be a band so much themselves that you think it must be impossible for them not to be.