Building Nothing Out of Something collects Modest Mouse singles and rare tracks from the group's indie-label years, including the studio tracks from the Interstate 8 EP and their contributions to the Sub Pop Singles Club. Despite the songs' motley origins, Building Nothing Out of Something works well as an album, balancing the group's quirky and often poignant pop songs with their more abrasive rock side. The wonderfully dreamy, off-kilter "Interstate 8" and "Workin' on Leavin' the Livin'" (which cleverly quotes Eraserhead's "Lady in the Radiator Song") are two shining examples of the group's elastic, loopy guitar pop, while "All Nite Diner," "A Life of Arctic Sounds," and "Other People's Lives" define their high-strung rock sound. Slower songs like "Grey Ice Water" and the Santo & Johnny homage "Sleepwalkin'" round out this look at Modest Mouse's diverse but consistently worthwhile indie output.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares