Modest Mouse: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank


Who would have thought when Modest Mouse were recording off-kilter indie rock albums like The Fruit That Ate Itself and Building Nothing out of Something, they’d eventually top the Billboard album charts.  If you haven’t heard the catchy pop “Dashboard” single yet, you’re stuck in an iPod rotation rut, as everybody and their 8th grade sister is buzzing about Modest Mouse’s latest effort. Apparently pop rock is cool again and it’s even outselling the R&B albums that typically dominate the charts.  Yup, Modest Mouse has delivered a meld of pop creativity and straight rockers that has been missing from the charts since Nirvana ruled the music store end-cap.


In this new Modest Mouse-era, Issac Brock, king of the angular guitar textures, brings on Johnny Marr to add a fresh layer, yet their sound remains hook-laden, and most importantly – holds its underlying edge. To find Marr’s immediate contributions you need to dig deep, as the host of his contributions are hidden in plain sight.   


Before the Ship Even Sank’s true buried treasure is it’s subtleties: James Mercer’s vocals on the charismatic “We’ve Got Everything,” the horns in “Dashboard” and the storm of guitars shouting throughout “Spitting Venon.”   But the best moments are at the end, coming as a wild ride through the 8 1/2 minute “Spitting Vemon” the pure "People as Places as People” and the sucker punch of “Invisible.”

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