Modest Mouse: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Modest Mouse has been making dynamic, artistic rock music for many years, and for many years I have been a loyal fan. They just released a new album entitled We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. I was definitely excited when I finally picked up a copy of the new album. The Moon and Antarctica is one of my all-time favorite records and The Lonesome Crowded West is what got me hooked on them in the first place. I literally own every Modest Mouse album. Some of them are gems, some of them are not; but for a band that has been churning out records as long as they have, they haven’t seemed to have lost their touch.
When I first heard the single “Dashboard” on the radio while driving in my car I started to feel nervous. It was immediately apparent that the song is well crafted and catchy, but it was also very pop. It fit’s the dance-rock formula perfectly: hooky guitar licks, “4-on-the-floor” drum beats, and a sing-along chorus; not unlike many new bands to hit the airwaves over the last few years, such as the Killers and Franz Ferdinand. I was nervous because I thought Modest Mouse was succumbing to recent trends in pop/rock music… I was wrong.
If you’re interested in purchasing We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank because you think it’s going to be filled with tracks similar to “Dashboard,” don’t waste your money. This album from beginning to end is obviously an artistic effort that is meant to please its creators far more than the masses. Even “Dashboard” sounds completely different in the context of the album than it does removed as a radio single. The opening track, “March Into the Sea” is aggressive and loud, Isaac Brock’s vocals clearly demand attention, and Johnny Marr (former Smith’s guitarist) influence is noticeable but not imposing.
The album is well paced and conceptual. The tracks flow together well and the album has a good mix of fast, up-beat songs and slow, chilled-out tunes. The production value is definitely superior to any previous Modest Mouse albums, as well. It takes a few listens before any of the songs really seem to stick, but most good albums do. This is definitely an album I would recommend listening to from beginning to end on your home stereo or a good pair of head phones. If you’re a fan of Modest Mouse, or even a first-time listener, I would definitely suggest adding this record to your collection.