Thursday, March 29, 2007

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse

Even if this record contained only the lead single, the stunningly radio-friendly, bounce-rock-with-horn-section behemoth 'Dashboard', it would still be worth the price of purchase. A perfect sequel to the radio-friendly crossover hit of 2005, 'Float On', from Good News for People who Love bad News, 'Dashboard' proves, as if there were any doubt, that Modest Mouse are as capable of making music commercially viable and totally awesome at the same time as anyone going around today. And that song isn't alone. 'Florida', with booming drums and crunching guitars becomes suddenly beautiful during the chorus. The addition of 80' music iconJohny Marr (The The, The Smiths) is a welcome, if subtle, change to an already fluid and dynamic band. In fact, if it weren't already common knowledge, Marr's influence would probably be put down to a change in producer, rather than the inclusion of a legendary musician.
Singer Isaac Brock's wildly varied vocals, from barking scream to soothing coo manage to co-exist, sometimes within one line of a song, without grating, and is once again a major factor in distinguishing Modest Mouse from the plethora of indie-rock impersonators that sprund up at about the same time.
If 'Dashboard' doesn't achieve the success it deserves, the record is hardly out of ammo. 'Missed the Boat' is a gently triumphant mid-tempo rock number, 'We've Got Everything' builds on 'Dashboard's' bouncy rhythms, while 'Invisible' is a pounding closer. MM virgins who think all of this sounds like a demanding listen would not be wrong, but, in the end, this is good news for people who loved Good News for People who Love Bad News.
4 stars



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