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We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse

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Reviewed on 10th April 2007.

 
 

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

By Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse are one of my best discoveries of recent times. They bring together abrasive, left field musical influences and pop inspired melody which turns into something strange, unnerving and beautiful.

After hearing 'The Moon and Antarctica' and 'Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again' I was hooked on their uniquely alluring music. The rhythmic vocals of Isaac Brock, reminiscent of singers I cannot quite remember, at times glide just on the surface the rich music behind, and at other times break out over it in powerful shouting-singing melodic madness.

'We Were Dead...' combines the melancholy beauty seen on 'Good News For People Who Love Bad News' with the more underground elements which first characterised them. Johnny Marr's presence on the album goes almost unnoticed - he slots perfectly into the band and his emotive guitar beautifully compliments Brocks vocals. There is the odd moment which I'm sure Smiths fans will claim is when the 'Marr sound' comes to the fore, but this does not do justice to the man or the band. These moments can only be found if you're looking for them, and Marr himself is not trying to resurrect the corpse of The Smiths as his Healers material attests to.

The album opens with the classic 'March Into The Sea', a song almost reminiscent of Mogwai as it quietly builds, gathering momentum, pressure building rhythmically into the pounding chorus. The album has a depth that will keep you coming back to it, finding something new every time it graces your stereo. The huge range of influences that the individual members combines beautifully to create the unique mix that is Modest Mouse.

Listening to 'We Were Dead...' brings alive the burning desire in me to pick up my own guitar - which is a personal sign of any good band. The album is well composed, swaying from relaxed airy guitars to acoustic melancholia to Modest Mouse's own brand of rock. Marr's guitar wanders in quieter moments, resonating over subtly melodic bass and slow building drums, always waiting to erupt out together.

I find myself finding the same kind of elation listening to Modest Mouse as I do from Arcade Fire, Arab Strap, or Silver Mt Zion. While very different, all these bands strike an emotional chord with their blend of aggressively melodic music, which at times will make you smile, and at times will make you cry.

'We Were Dead...' finds the band with a new member, and another step forward in their own musical development. It is a surprising, poignant and above all superbly engaging album which should not be missed.

 

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On 11th April 2007 at 09:28 Anonymous 30 wrote...

It is an excellent album, and a great review, but surely deserving of more than 3.5/5? Especially when you see how many 4/5's (undeservedly i.m.o) get handed out like free sweets.

 

On 11th April 2007 at 11:00 Dave LMS wrote...

I should put back that feature where you can see average stars from individual writers. It's entirely subjective, and each writer has their own 'scoring scheme' and only when you see it averaged out can you recognise brilliant vs good vs bad. So a 7/10 may indicate 'excellent' from writer A, and 'average' from writer B.

This is Stuart's first review, and I agree it is very well written and I enjoyed reading it myself.

In time, we may see what a 7/10 means to Stuart compared to others.

Might get that feature back in, I think it had some uses...

 

On 12th April 2007 at 09:40 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Fair do's - would be useful to have it back

 
 
 

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