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We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
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We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank is a new chapter in Modest Mouse's career with the new infusion of Johnny Marr and the extra percussion muscle brought by Plummer and Peloso. The new album features several songs that the band played live during their 2-week-long sold-out runs in LA and NY, including the instant radio hit ''Dashboard.''
Their last album may have given them a certifiable radio hit, airtime on VH1, and a Kidz Bop tribute, but listening to the follow-up to 2004's Good News for People Who Love Bad News, you might get the sense that the members of Modest Mouse are flinching at the spotlight. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, the Oregon group's fifth full-length release, is denser than its predecessor with tunes that seem willfully harder to penetrate. Even the addition of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr to the line-up seems incidental, as Modest Mouse's off-kilter sound stays largely intact. But keep listening and it becomes obvious that the band hasn't lost any of his pop bite, especially midway through with a sweep of terrific songs like "Missed the Boat," "Education" and "Little Motel." It's hard to tell if there's another "Float On" in the bunch. In fact, the first single, "Dashboard," is one of the weakest Isaac Brock has ever penned. With Shins James Mercer adding lovely vocals to "Florida," however, it hardly matters. --Aidin Vaziri
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Top Customer Reviews
There is always a problem with following up a success. People expect either the same thing, or more flash but along the same lines. Also, you've heard this absolute new sound. Not so new the second time around.
But listen to this one by itself. Forget the first one while listening carefully to this. It rocks! Good melodies, fractured as they are. Good bass lines, also fractured. Fine percussion. Voices in harmony (not). This is not a sellout album. Great music. Keep on rockin'.
I partly agree with both criticisms, but -- not to sound wishy-washy - also disagree... Whether you like it or not, Modest Mouse had to evolve from its best CDs, Moon & Anartica and the Lonesome Crowded West... even if their evolution is not fully satisfying to early fans. It WOULD be great to see MM try a little less production for a change, and they DO seem a bit like they are retreading the past, and the themes and music of the CD do NOT always hang together (as the addition of guitarist Marr, is hit or miss or not noticeable)...
YET there ARE gems on "We were dead..." that are well worth the purchase and to sustain hope that MM still have a bright future... even if they may never (again) be critic's darlings. The fact that they were once is likely why current reviews of those same critics are often too negative - very hard to live up to!
So, compared to other MM discs I rate this as a 3.5 out of 5 STARS (but compared to most rock/alt. music out there is it a 4.5!).
Cheers from Motown south.
Most recent customer reviews
Modest Mouse's masterpiece. every other album was leading up to this.Published 7 months ago by lamont cranston
Great CD from a very underrated band. I wish they would release some new material.Published 19 months ago by Karen O'Connell
With their last album, Modest Mouse came closer to the mainstream than ever before. They had an MTV video, for crying out loud.
Apparently that rankled the band. Read more