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Modest Mouse

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank



We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is the first major misstep in Modest Mouse's impressively realized career. If some fans were initially dismayed – and eventually won over – by the big rock tones of 2003's Good News for People Who Love Bad News, then what will they think of this, a collection of aggressively radio-friendly junk where band leader Isaac Brock grunts on every song? (A rare exception is "Parting of the Sensory," which cooks from a slow, simmering ballad into a blistering attack.) The group flourishes its songs with a series of dance beats that feel like clichés. And even the stylistic departures – the Americana of "Missed the Boat" or the bluesy stomp that opens "Spitting Venom" – seem tiresome. Perhaps time will improve We Were Dead, but for now it feels like a monumental disappointment. 2 stars

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