Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank Review

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Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank


General Information

Original Author: Owen

Artist: Modest Mouse

Album: We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

Genre: Alternative/Indie Rock

Initial Release Year: 2007


01. March into the Sea
02. Dashboard
03. Fire It Up
04. Florida
05. Parting of the Sensory
06. Missed the Boat
07. We've Got Everything
08. Fly Trapped in a Jar
09. Education
10. Little Motel
11. Steam Engenius
12. Spitting Venom
13. People as Places as People
14. Invisible


Modest Mouse maintain a marvelously chaotic sound, sometimes the listener could be confused as to whats happening, instruments get lost in each others presence and fronted by the crazy voice of main guitarist Isaac Brock it is definately something recognisable amongst a sea of regular indie bands as with the vocal line there is a lot of variation, many up's and down's, from being firmly up front and aggressively punchy to being comfortably laid back and mellow. The production here is marvelous, but that is to be expected from a band that peaked no 1 in the US charts for the first time with this effort, unfortunatley they have yet to enjoy the same degree of lavish success in other countries around the globe, which is a shame, as Modest Mouse are so unique in their approach to music that they should be a force to be reckoned with.


Bordering on minimalism at points, Modest Mouse's lyrics do occassionally surprise with some decidedly clever one or two liners:

My ears were pressin' firmly right against your mouth to hear
When you tried to spit the venom out your words were not so clear

While we're on the subject
Could we change the subject now

And the occassional well worked metaphor:

We crashed in like waves into the stars
Didn't want it, didn't need it, but we knew that we
Could see it so we opened up the door
We receded like waves out of the stars

So whilst some of the content is clever, there is no really substantial lyrical prowess to maintain this albums shelflife and at times there is an overabundance of repitition of purely simple lines:

We've done everything
We've done everything
We've done everything like trial by fire so I guess we'll stop trying now
We've tried everything
We've tried everything

Some people may find themselves to be fond of such lyrics - they express basic emotion with such charm and simplicity, if you like depth to your lyrical content then this probably is not the best band to listen to, otherwise they are 'modest' and enjoyable - tying in with the band's peculiar name but to contrast this they offer an altogether different approach in several other areas.


Manic, varied and truely individual, Isaac Brock's style may not be for faint hearted, but for the indie stalwart who is thoroughly used to the crazily different stylings of the genre's pioneers this may be an entirely normal offering.

Sometimes an entirely normal vocal line will burst from a verse to a chorus with such a sincere frenzied power that it will catch the listener completely off guard, It could be taken as a ploy to be unique, another singer making up for lack of a superb voice with his own brand of misguided vocalising, but it seems more than that, as if it were the forefront for Isaac's lyrical cause, it supply's power in sheer quantity that it is hard to ignore, and perhaps, equally hard to accept.

Guitar Work

Theres some very upbeat riffing here, lots of crescendo's and fast beating choruses. As with most indie rock, there are no solo's to be expected, anticipated or enjoyed. However, the catchy flair is enough to entice the casual listener to this band and the powerful output is enough to keep most people listening attentively.

Overall Impression

Distinctive and displaying a certain characteristic articulate and creative sound, Modest Mouse are perhaps one of the most individual bands in a now huge genre of music, maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm out of touch, but one things for sure, this band is good enough to merit some serious attention in places other than the US, their music is by no means modest and does not deserve be portrayed as such.

Recommended Tracks :
09. Education
07. We've Got Everything
12. Spitting Venom

Sample :
Modest Myspace
Unfortunately they dont seem to agree with me as to which songs are the best.