Modest Mouse
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank



by Beej USER (1 Reviews)
April 1st, 2007 | 1070 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This album is certainly pure Modest Mouse: eclectic, odd, and true to their style. It isn’t anywhere near perfect, but you may find many songs on here that you actually enjoy, despite your opinions of the band.

Following up their 2004 commercially successful release of Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Modest Mouse has stuck largely to their uniquely odd style of music. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is a combination of many styles of music with lead singer Isaac Brock’s voice acting as the common link between each song. The album is essentially a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs in tempo.

The CD begins without holding back. March Into the Sea starts with sudden clash of instruments and drums, with Brock’s voice matching the clamor. The song peaks, then quiets, and then returns to unadulterated chaos, repeating as it progresses. Listening to this song, one might wonder why they would start with such a wild piece, especially with Dashboard acting as the primary lure to the CD’s purchasers. But as the CD progresses it becomes obvious that the eclectic mix of fast and slow pace is the perfect representative of the album as a whole. In essence, this song is not-so-coincidentally on par with the rest of the disc.

Dashboard starts without much hesitation. You’ve probably heard this song if you’re reading this, so you can make your own judgment. My opinion: this song is brilliantly assembled and catchy, even if you can’t understand what Brock is saying.

The CD makes a sudden pace change with Fire It Up. It’s a slow song that sounds like it was computer mixed rather than produced with real instruments, but Modest Mouse does a good job of making it flow.

Following the course of a rollercoaster ride, Florida begins quickly in contrast with Fire it Up. The song is decent, but the real highlight is the Shins singer James Mercer singing backup. His voice gives the song a real uplifting, chorus-like feeling.

Again, two slow songs take over. Parting of the Sensory is depressing song with a folk chant ending. Missed the Boat is a peaceful work with guitar that resembles any given pop-rocker today. The Shins singer rejoins MM on this one and really gives a huge boost to this otherwise mediocre song.

We’ve Got Everything marks the next upward movement of the ride. It’s a funky song that sounds right at home in a 70s dance mix. Whether or not you like this song will depend on your genre preferences, not your like or dislike of Modest Mouse. Therefore, I will let this one be up to you.

The CD goes downhill from here.

The next two songs portray the odd side of Modest Mouse. They draw in the older fans of Modest Mouse, but to many people I predict they will be just plain annoying. Only the most hardcore of fan boys will truly love these songs.

Little Motel is another listenable slow song. After a few times through, however, you may find yourself skipping this one. It consists of a decent chorus and a solo that starts well but is butchered by over-layering.

Steam Engenius is just plain annoying. Between the repetitive lyrics and constant woo-hoo’s, it totally ruins all it had going for it. The song is just sub-par album filler.

Spitting Venom kicks in and finally salvages the second half of the CD. At first it sounds like a folk song, but at about a minute and a half into the song, the guitars burst in with great force. The song climaxes and sounds superb, and then it slowly fades into one excellent guitar led instrumental. It is a perfect lullaby. I could fall asleep to this part of the song peacefully every night. As it concludes, vocals begin and slowly grow into one great chant that really pulls the song together. As an eight minute, beautifully assembled work of music, I would have liked to see the CD end to this song.

It keeps going, though.

People as Places as People is good, but it sounds almost like a continuation of Spitting Venom. It is just another filler song that needs more work to be anything truly great.

Just as they came in, Modest Mouse decided to go out with a not so subtle song. Invisible bursts in with MM’s trademark fast clamor and chaos. It’s odd but perhaps not a coincidence that the CD comes clashing in and goes clashing out.

This album is certainly pure Modest Mouse: eclectic, odd, and true to their style. It isn’t anywhere near perfect, but you may find many songs on here that you actually enjoy, despite your opinions of the band. The first half of the CD is better that the second half, so maybe its best for anyone interested to avoid the rollercoaster ride and download songs individually.

After all, rollercoasters make some people sick.

user ratings (1812)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • tribestros (4)
    Modest Mouse builds on the easily digestible pop anthems from their previous album and the...

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

    sumwun17 (4)

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

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

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 1st 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Been awhile since I posted...but i think I've finally foudn to desire to post a comment. I realllllly like this album and I certainly find it superior to Good News but not quite as good as The Moon & Antarctica. This album keeps the same surreal MM style but it still sounds completely different from anything else. Florida is strangely enough my least favorite song on the album. What make MM's other pop songs so good is their "weird" feel but Florida completely misses that target.

April 1st 2007


You'd do best to push the sentences together to make whole paragraphs, and the tbt format comes off clustered. But still, this is a great review, especially for a first, and needed for the album. You describe the sound well for those who haven't heard this (like me), but if you're going to do a track by track you should add a little more detail to how it sounds. Still, good review, and awesome closing line.

Two-Headed Boy
April 1st 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

but you may find many songs on here that you actually enjoy

Yeah, exactly half.

Good review, young man. I don't really like this album that much though.

April 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

This is a much more accurate review than the other one...

April 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good album, not great though.

April 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

good review. even though i have this at a 4.5, its starting to be get a bit boring but the few songs that are brilliant keep the replay value up there for me. might lower it to a 4 soon

April 3rd 2007


Album Rating: 2.0

i thought this album was horrible. the only song i liked was 'missed the boat' good review tho

April 16th 2007


I disagree, I'd have to say the album gets WAY better after the first half. In fact, every time I listen to it the first thing I do is skip to track 7.

April 16th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

hm...track 7 is like there best song man if your implying the song "weve gor everything" i guess everyone has there own different opinions on modest mouse..

April 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

great album

May 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Dashboard is hella catchy though the rest of the album is your standard MM beats.

May 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

The whole first half of this album is really solid. The second half (after "Fly Trapped In A Jar") is pretty inconsistent. I don't really like "Education" or "Steam Engenious." This is a really good album though.

May 7th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

"Steam Engenius is just plain annoying. Between the repetitive lyrics and constant woo-hoo’s, it totally ruins all it had going for it. The song is just sub-par album filler."

That has to be one of my favorites off the's amazing

Waiting For The Sun
August 6th 2007


This album doesn't deserver a 3.5. The songs may try to be 'unique' or something but I really can't stand them after the third time listening to them, maybe it's just me but i find these songs really annoying.

August 16th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

For all you haters that once loved em give em more time. I didnt like it at first but I gave it 2 or 3 more listens and there's so much more good on there then jsut dashboard and missed the boat

September 27th 2007


the first track is amazing, i was overjoyed and still can't stop listening to it. i was a little disappointed to find the rest of the album somewhat.... meh...

i hate it when good musicians grow old. this is to "lonesome..." what "cassadega" is to "lifted" for bright eyes, disappointingly lacking cojones.

not that bright eyes ever had cojones... whiny, albeit talented, little maggit.

anywho...i shall persevere with this on recommendation of others

November 4th 2007


Album Rating: 1.5

This album is pretty boring...well boring for modest mouse. There are very long stretchs of time between album spins for me on this puppy.

November 4th 2007


Album Rating: 2.0

Modest Mouse have fallen so far since the release of The Lonesome Crowded West. Even when you don't compare this to past releases it's still a lackluster album, there's just nothing here to keep me interested.

December 30th 2007


Rating: 4.5

Dashboard and Missed the Boat got enough radio time to get me to ask for the CD for a gift. I really like the sounds in Education and I can identify with the lyrics about unread books and education...although I do have a degree ;-).

January 7th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

Love dashboard missed the boat and fire it up

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