Modest Mouse
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank


4.0
excellent

Review

by Porter W. Richards USER (62 Reviews)
August 14th, 2007 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Modest Mouse builds on the easily digestible pop anthems from their previous album and the more traditional, echoing yet spastic songs from their earlier releases.

Johnny Marr is probably one of the most influential guitarists of all time, even though most people outside of England or The Smiths' die-hard following don't even know who he is. Johnny Marr created the one-of-a-kind guitar sound and tone that made The Smiths such a hit; and the guitar sound Morrissey tried to replicate during his solo career. He has such a distinctive guitar tone and sound, and his distinctive guitar sound is a-plenty in Modest Mouse's latest release, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.

Taking a different path from the road-trip themed albums before it, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank has a distinctive nautical feel. The album also builds off of the hard-edged rhythm changes and sound changes from their commercial hit Good News For People Who Love Bad News, while still reflecting on the slowing sounds and echoes of Modest Mouse's magnum opus, The Moon and Antarctica. Modest Mouse is still at heart an indie rock band, but with each album they edge closer to becoming a traditional alternative rock band, as the raw feel of previous releases is slowly ironed out for a more dignified, ecletic feel. Its still filled with Modest Mouse oddities, such as Brock's voice, extreme rhythm changes, odd chorus structures, and catchy lyrics.

Plenty of songs on this album could have been massive hits, even though most have them have been looked over. This puzzles me because songs like Dashboard and Florida are catchier, more fun, and just better than their massive hit Float On. Even March into the Sea should be a hit, the chorus is edgy, catchy, and just universally appealing. This album has the stuff to be Modest Mouse's newest most commercially successful album, but somehow its missed the mark. But maybe that's a good thing, because if they were superstars, the more traditional echoing, atmospheric Modest Mouse songs like Fly Trapped in a Jar and Education would probably go the way of the dinosaurs.

Issac Brock's unorthodox voice is just as present as ever; and takes over the music just like always. He sings in a lower, more traditional voice in songs like People as Places as People and We've Got Everything; and he breaks out his louder, more recognizable odd tone in March into the Sea's chorus or in the verses to Florida. His multitude of voices and styles work especially well in this album, and flows well with the style of the album.

The guitar work is impeccable and unique; just like always. Issac Brock's guitar work has always sounded like Marr's work; but now with Marr in the fold, their guitar work has taken a more realistic impression of The Smiths' guitar work, and at times the songs sound a lot like The Smiths with a different lead singer. This adds a lot of depth and variety to the music, and making the music which normally focuses on Brock's voice, a little more focused on the guitar work. The guitar work manages to feel rather nautical, and seems to paint a picture of the music better than any other Modest Mouse album.

Brock's traditional witty, funny, lyrical style is back, with the ever-present nautical feel of the album. Most of the songs are about being out at Sea, and he uses the word Sea plenty in this album. The lyrics work well with his unique and strange voice, and his overpowering of the instrumental work with his vocals makes the lyrics stand out. In my opinion, the up-beat yet solemn feel of the lyrics work impeccably well with this album's feel and style.

The infusion of the poppy-upbeat anthems like Dashboard and We've Got Everything work well with the more traditional odd Modest Mouse songs like Fly Trapped in a Jar and Spitting Venom. Modest Mouse is a band with many personalities and styles, and this album seems to have all of Modest Mouse's styles and vocals in an anthology of Modest Mouse's career. Honestly, this album comes in a close second to only The Moon and Antarctica. Its not as poppy and varied as Good News For People Who Love Bad News, yet not raw and undeveloped like The Lonesome Crowded West. Modest Mouse has only hit their stride now and have began to shift into auto-drive and, albums like this divide steady, reliable bands from the sell-outs with the question of what will be produced next. Will Modest Mouse continue to keep their fans happy with their unique brand of sound and music, or build on the easy-listening anthems of Good News For People Who Love Bad News? This can only be answered in time, but for now, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank will keep fans and new listeners happy for years to come with its infusion of radio-friendly poppy anthems and true-to-tradition rockers.

DOWNLOAD:
March into the Sea
Florida
Fly Trapped in a Jar
Education



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user ratings (1321)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • sumwun17 (4)
    ...

    RobbaqPL (3.5)
    Brock & co. continue their expedition into the valleys of pop, resulting in their most une...

    Derek Marchewka (2)
    Modest Mouse try to be different and unique, but end up getting lost in the process....

    lwatkins (4.5)
    The new Modest Mouse is on show; featuring a new direction that, oddly enough, is very sim...

  • Beej (3.5)
    This album is certainly pure Modest Mouse: eclectic, odd, and true to their style. It isn...

    BoSoxorz (5)
    "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank" will please the ears of old and new Modest Mouse ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
JAD
August 14th 2007


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Real nice review, this album has steadily been growing on me in the months since it came out. Parting of the Sensory, We've Got Everything, and People as Places as People are some of Modest Mouses best. And Johnny Marr is, of course, awesome.

DaveBum69
August 14th 2007


699 Comments


these guys are soooooooooooooo bad

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
August 14th 2007


862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bar a few tracks, and one or two excellent ones, this was entirely forgettable for me. I'm a MM fan, I prefer their earlier releases but I enjoyed Good News and accepted the direction they were going. But this did hardly anything for me.
Though I disagree with much of the review, it's well written and you backed up most of your points. Vote.This Message Edited On 08.14.07

lunchforthesky
August 14th 2007


1039 Comments


About time this got a good review. Good job.

tribestros
August 14th 2007


918 Comments


I don't want Modest Mouse to become a Top 40 band. I like their indie style, and most likely if they sell out, Brock will tone down his vocals, the sound will be less spastic and the rhythm changes won't be as drastic.

descendents1
August 14th 2007


702 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0


I don't want Modest Mouse to become a Top 40 band. I like their indie style, and most likely if they sell out, Brock will tone down his vocals, the sound will be less spastic and the rhythm changes won't be as drastic.

I think they sold out a long time ago man and they're just not good enough to have mad sales. Their earlier work was better than this IMHO. It seemed like they tried too hard to sound unique on this album and I couldn't listen for more than 10 minutes at a time without thinking they were ripping off Television or some other alt band.

btw selling out =/= top 40, it means changing your approach to music for reasons other than the music or ethic itself and i think they fit the billThis Message Edited On 08.14.07

stevensonmat2
August 14th 2007


5 Comments


Im sorry, but this was a very poorly written review. Lots of clumsy sentence structure and repetitive language.

SpinLightTwo
August 14th 2007


1043 Comments


Dashboard is damn good, but I like "Float On" just a little bit more.

Im sorry, but this was a very poorly written review. Lots of clumsy sentence structure and repetitive language.


wrong.
good job man.

This Message Edited On 08.14.07

descendents1
August 14th 2007


702 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0


Im sorry, but this was a very poorly written review. Lots of clumsy sentence structure and repetitive language.


This used to be a big problem for trib but he's been working on it and it shows. It's still noticeable but the review is pretty well-written if you ask me.

tribestros
August 14th 2007


918 Comments


Yeah, I'm working on the whole sentence structure and repetitive words thing. I agree, my old reviews were pretty wordy and hard to follow at times.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They still are. The Marr intro was a little misleading- he wasn't that big a factor on this album tbh. Maybe on the next one he will be.

tribestros
August 14th 2007


918 Comments


Jump off of a cliff.

HotSalvation
August 14th 2007


258 Comments


I saw em on conan and they were enjoyable for the 4 minutes they played.

I think they should delve deeper into crazy shit, do some more drugs and tone up the weird vocals...as soon as they don't do that they'll be boring as hell.

what I'm saying is, without their crazy harmony and melody, they're a pretty lame band. the drugs keep it exciting.

iarescientists
August 14th 2007


5863 Comments


I think they should delve deeper into crazy ****, do some more drugs and tone up the weird vocals...as soon as they don't do that they'll be boring as hell.

They already did that.




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