Modest Mouse: ‘Coyotes’ Music Video Review

Two weeks ago, I received one of my favorite wake-up emails ever – a message from Whiplash Merchandise and Glacial Pace Records explaining that, along with my preorder of Modest Mouse’s upcoming album, Strangers to Ourselves, I would be receiving a 7” free of charge including the album’s two singles, “Lampshades on Fire” and “Coyotes.” At this point in time, I was only aware of the former, meaning there absolutely was a new Modest Mouse single called “Coyotes” (we still don’t have a tracklisting) that was probably streaming right at that moment, and oh my god, I had to hear it.

I hurdled over my laptop to get to Absolutepunk’s official album thread and sure enough, the band has dropped a music video for the brand new single. The video for “Coyotes” is…adorable. Based on true events, it tells the (loose) story of a coyote that rode the Portland light rail train all by its lonesome back in 2002. The song is a pretty one, with verses hooked in childlike wonder before really fleshing out the band’s instrumental work throughout the latter half.

Vocalist Isaac Brock’s vivid wordplay is front and center here, despite the song’s sparse lyricism: “Coyotes tip-toe in the snow after dark/At home with the ghosts in the national parks.” The song begins with a simple, folky arrangement before layers of guitars begin to flood the track, reminiscent of the band’s cult-classic The Moon & Antarctica. By the end of the song, Modest Mouse has a chance to flex their muscles and show that their unique dynamics have not worn off over the past eight years.

Our video begins with a coyote wandering the streets of Portland before hopping on a seemingly abandoned light rail train. The doors close, and with that, our hero’s (or heroine’s) journey begins. Seemingly plotless, the video follows the coyote as it gets comfortable in one of the train’s seats and oversees several Portland landmarks throughout the trip. The shots are long and beautiful, quaintly accompanying the song with overtaking its musicianship. Finally coming to a stop, the coyote hops out the train doors trots happily back into the quiet streets of Portland. Modest Mouse may have stayed quiet for the past eight years, but as they roll out the release of what could be the career-spanning Strangers to Ourselves, Isaac Brock and co. make it clear that 2015 will be remembered throughout the indie community as the Year of the Mouse.