Friday, November 16, 2007

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

Modest Mouse have been one of the most watched bands in indie rock since the release of their hit single "Float On". After having their first taste of commerical success, this little engine that could's next album was one of the most anticipated records to date, not only was there excitement amongst the community about hearing some new material but mostly because ex-Smiths guitar slinger Johnny Marr had supposedly joined the ranks of Isaac Brocks small army of musicians.

The record was expected to drop late 2006 but to no avail the band held off until setting a date for early 2007. It has to be said Modest Mouse probably have two sets of fans, ones existing prior to 2004's "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" and the new fans jumping on board after. The music has slightly changed since their earlier days but the method towards song writing and structure has stayed basically the same. Isaac Brock is pure oddball and that's what makes this band stand out from the rest.

Beginning fresh with the jubilant "Dashboard", filling the void for fans awaiting another "Float On" or something similar, getting the band even more radio play. The album takes some getting used to as it is a platter of mix and matched rock sorts played out by the maestro Brock. "March Into The Sea" catches our attention off the bat with it's quirky intro quickly whisked into the Modest madness we all know and love. "Fire It Up" can become quite overwhelming after a few listens only saved by some excellent musicianship three quarters into the song. Back to back is "Florida" heading towards rock track of the year and "Parting of the Sensory" a slow building journey leading towards a rather surprising but satisfying end.

The Shins front man James Mercer guest stars on a few tracks lending his voice for some back up vocals. "Missed the Boat" and "We've Got Everything" are the catchy pop crowd pleasers. "Spitting Venom" is the longest and most awarding song here, just wait till that riff kicks in, and "Little Motel" is just a such a wonderful song, the word beautiful even comes to mind.

The album is no doubt a peculiar collection of tracks plucked from all parts of the Brock spectrum, some aren't as impressive as others but even the more unimpressive songs still contain outstanding musical moments strewn throughout them. Johnny Marr definitely adds a spark to the proceedings in which his influence is felt throughout. Even if this in no way, matches the quality of their past material it's still a really great album. Brock is one of the most talented songwriters of today, serving up another dish of his quirky lyrics and unconventional guitar playing, with his outlandish vocals now unmistakable among any knowledgeable rock crowd. We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank is easily one of the most enjoyable rock releases you'll hear this year.


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