Sad Sappy Sucker is Modest Mouse's "lost album." It was recorded by K Records' Calvin Johnson in 1994 and was supposed to be the band's debut, but delays shelved the record and it disappeared. The 2001 release of Sad Sappy Sucker gives fans an opportunity to see the humble beginnings of one of the Pacific Northwest's most original bands. All 12 songs recorded during the Dub Narcotic Studio sessions are on the album, including the impossible to find Worms Vs. Birds 7". As a bonus treat, there are nine songs from Isaac Brock's Dial-a-Song project. These were on his answering machine every day and could only be heard by calling in. The thick textures, crazy drawl vocals, and grand flair of later Modest Mouse albums such as The Lonesome Crowded West and The Moon & Antarctica are not fully realized on Sad Sappy Sucker. But Modest Mouse's future suburban sprawl is evident in the chug-chug of "From Point A to Point B" and the slow/fast groove of "Race Car Grin You Ain't No Landmark." On the latter, Brock sings, "Looks like accounting's not accountable for anything or anyone at all." But Sad Sappy Sucker is no case of a "reissue, repackage, repackage" revenue scheme, this album is a gift for die-hard fans, put out by a label that probably loves Modest Mouse as much as the fans do.
AllMusic Review by Charles Spano