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We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

Modest Mouse

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iTunes Review

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is a gripping and satisfying recording, with skittering tempos, jerky rhythms, and delightful surprises around every quirky corner. Lead singer, guitarist, and gifted songwriter Isaac Brock sounds positively manic on the clattering “March Into the Sea.” “Dashboard” and “Steam Engenius” are funky and undeniably catchy, “Little Motel” manages to be both tender and oddly off balance, and not many singers could make a line like “Someday you will die somehow and something’s gonna steal your carbon” work(from the standout “Parting of the Sensory”). A notable addition to the band on this recording is former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, whose chiming, lyrical style meshes beautifully with Brock’s jagged and idiosyncratic playing. Marr’s contributions help the band create a fuller sound without sacrificing any of the inherent strangeness that makes them so consistently inventive and fascinating. Modest Mouse manage to compromise nothing and still create compelling pop music even as their audience grows, and that’s a feat few contemporary bands can pull off.

Customer Reviews

The Most Amazing Album. Ever.

I have 1500 artists on my iTunes library, and this is not only putting Modest Mouse at number one, the album is number one as well. iTunes let me download this before 3/20, so I don't know what will be the popular tracks yet, but my favorite so far is Little Motel. A break down: This hits many aspects. To begin, there are many songs on here that are like old MM. They are closer to the This Is a Long Drive moments than Good News or Moon/Ant. There are also many songs like the Float On and newer album style, especially Dashboard and We've Got Everything. However, MM has brought something totally new to the palette, a style of music they are yet to use, and I must say, it is amazing. The lyrics are, as always, hilarious, witty, and you have to read over them a million times just to begin to understand them. The music on this album ranges from an almost Flea-like bass riffs, onto loud heavily distorted guitars imitating fly noises, onto clean, electric ballads which could be beautiful as an instrument. It's just so ridiculously amazing as an album. It's like impossible to find a song that someone won't absolutely love. I've only heard through this album one time, and it's definitely one of, if not, my absolute favorite, when it normally takes me atleast 50 times to hear an album before I can define it as it's "best". I have huge hopes for this album, and I hope it is a commercial success. It deserves to be. From the Float On moments of Dashboard to the riffs in the background of Spitting Venom which were used in Moon and Antartica (listen about halfway through the song, 5 min in), to the distorted guitar in a Fly Trapped In a Jar, this is an amazing, original, beautiful, witty album. Modest Mouse started off with Isaac Brock recording songs without musical instrument as you can hear on the A Capella recordings where you can hear all the background noise and it sounds like early nirvana outtakes, funny but generally not very interesting. They evolved a bit when taking on Moon/ Good News, but they were expanding at a rate so that they lost a bit about them which made them so special. They've finally caught it. Maybe it was Marr, from the Smiths, who has now joined MM, which brought them back into place. Who knows. All I know is that this is the most amazing album of all time.

Going in a new direction, and not a good one

The new Modest Mouse album is by no means lacking in hard-biting guitar or unique and powerful vocals, only in compelling melodies. If you're used to the Modest Mouse that provides incredible melodies and versatile songwriting, think again. I love every Modest Mouse album including the previous release, "Good News for People Who Love Bad News", but this one falls very short. There are too many weak songs. They are weak in the most important aspect: the ability to write powerful songs far before the polished sound of the final cut. A well-written song is good regardless of production quality and skillful playing of instruments. That said, I think it's obvious that these songs lack the creativity of previous releases. There are a couple of songs that I find echo the quality of earlier works, namely "Invisible" and "Steam Engenius", but even these are a far cry from the inspiring riffs that make up earlier albums. I'm not one to scream "Sell Out", but I am one to point out a poorly written album when I hear it, and this is one of them.

Wow...

Modest Mouse is no doubt my favorite artist, and I will not lie, I was introduced to them by the repetitive Float On. I then promptly bought several songs off of iTunes, realized it was a bad idea, then immediately bought the Moon and Antarctica (Best Album Ever). This album is their 3rd or 4th best album, behind the Moon and Antarctica, The Lonesome Crowded West, and Building Nothing out of Something. Check those out, and then this one. Now...the review itself. March Into the Sea-10/10 (great song) Dashboard-8/10 (starting to grow on me) Fire It Up-8/10 (tad too poppy) Florida-9/10 (love the james mercer chorus) Parting of the Sensory-10/10 (beautiful song, all the way around) Missed the Boat-9/10 (tad too poppy) We've Got Everything-8/10 (little too repetetive) Fly Trapped In a Jar-8/10 (like the fly buzzing beginning) Education-9/10 (lovin' it) Little Motel-10/10 (best love song ever-NOT sappy) Steam Engenius-10/10 (one of the best beats) Spitting Venom-10/10 (BEST SONG EVER) People As Places As People-8/10 (seems to carry on a little long) Invisible-8/10 (gets tiring after a while)

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Issaquah, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Modest Mouse were one of the most surprising commercial success stories of the new millennium — while their music was by turns taut and elliptical, and the lyrics sometimes cryptic and introspective, the band broke through to the mainstream audience with the platinum-selling Good News for People Who Love Bad News, and they became genuine rock stars at a time when their musical peers remained cult figures. Modest Mouse was founded in 1993 by guitarist and vocalist Isaac Brock, bassist Eric Judy,...
Full Bio

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