Modest Mouse and 764-HERO: Whenever You See Fit (Up/Suicide Squeeze)
There are two ways that the collaboration aspect elevates the song though . Most importantly, there's the way that each of the 6 members involved here fill in the gaps that they perceive, mainly because it's like they were already tailor made for the purpose they wind up serving in the final song. Both bands have their strengths and their weaknesses when compared to each other - yes, I'm saying that Modest Mouse at their peak had weaknesses, deal with it fanboys - but they're much more complimentary in that sense than I might have imagined. Isaac Brock may have a unique style of guitar playing and an equally unique and expressive vocal style, but both can come off as overly unhinged and without context. John Atkins' guitar and vocal styles aren't unique or particularly noteworthy, but he's got much more of a keen melodic edge than Brock. Polly Johnson is a competent time-keeper who goes about her duties with minimal flourish - think Meg White if she could use the whole kit consistently - while Jeremiah Green is occasionally so much about the flourishes that the beat is only ever implied (note: this is one of his best assets in my eyes, but for the sake of this discussion let's pretend it's not.) Both Eric Judy and James Bertram are great bassists, but the bands they spend their time with use them in such different ways that when they come together it results in a much more complete - and huge sounding - bass presence. That's the key word for the way that the two bands work together here: complete. They complete the picture that has gaps of varying sizes when they only have their part.
The other way that the collaboration benefits the end result is that the sound is much, much bigger than either band on its own. It's not just the doubled instruments, though that does help a lot, but there's a sense of epicness to the song that I don't think 764-HERO or Modest Mouse ever achieved on their own. That's certainly saying a lot w/r/t MM since they had an epic streak of their own to contend with, but at this point that streak resulted in much more fractured wholes that the one on display here. I think of this as what a song like "Trucker's Atlas" wanted to be but didn't quite get to: a cohesive, 14 and a half minute piece that feels like it could go on for at least five more minutes without wearing out its welcome. Just listen to how smoothly the song moves from each part to the next, the way that the false ending and re emergence flows so logically...these are moves that so many post-rock bands fail miserably to realize yet here we have a one-off collaboration between two indie rock bands that gets them almost effortlessly on the first go round. That's the reason I love this song so much in a nutshell; it gets everything right without sounding like it worked to get there. Effortless genius is hard to pull off convincingly, so I can't help but reward it when it happens.
I'm not mentioning the remixes in too much detail because that's not the point here. sure in the scope of the complete release they should be talked about but as far as I'm concerned they're not a detriment or an asset. If anything they highlight the reasons that he original works so well as its own entity by isolating and amplifying certain aspects of it on their own, so they can't really ruin the release the way that some people would claim they do. They give context to the preceding 14 and a half minutes, and that's a valuable thing. [9.3/10]
Burning Witch: Rift.Canyon.Dreams (Merciless)
Download link and image courtesy of Angry Chairs Redux.
Dirty Three: Sharks (Anchor and Hope)
Saturnus: For the Loveless Lonely Nights (Euphonius)
Tarentel: Tarentel (Temporary Residence)