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We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (2067 ratings)
We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank album cover
March Into The Sea
Fire It Up
Parting Of The Sensory
Missed The Boat
We've Got Everything
Fly Trapped In A Jar
Little Motel
Steam Engenius
Spitting Venom
People As Places As People
Album Information

Total Tracks: 14   Total Length: 62:30

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Wondering Sound

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Andrew Parks


When he's not filing news stories, shooting a live show or contributing the occasional feature for Wondering Sound, Andrew Parks edits and publishes self-titled...more »

A grandiose Greek tragedy set to scratchy riffs and a restless rhythm section
2007 | Label: Epic

Isaac Brock's always been a brutal storyteller, a frontman unafraid of showing humanity's ugly side amid inescapable hooks and hummable melodies. With that in mind, the original premise of Modest Mouse's fifth LP was pitch-dark even for him: a ship crew dying in every song, like a grandiose Greek tragedy set to scratchy riffs and a restless rhythm section made all the more potent by a pair of mallet-wielding percussionists.

In the end, We Were Dead's… read more »

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One of the...


This is one of those albums I had sitting around for a long time before I got into it. It took the iPod to randomly shuffle it to my attention a few times before I thought, "I should put on that album again in its entirety..." ..... AND, it's now official, in my book, very few albums come as close to perfection as this one. I am always partial to storytelling in music, and this voyeuristic tale is reflective, relatable, dramatic, and raw... it's a Dogma film in musical form.

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Disappointing decline


I listened to this album more than a few times upon getting it... certainly not bad, but virtually no staying power for me. Sort of Modest Mouse redux... I wouldn't bother with this one until getting all previous LPs and EPs.

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Listen twice before rating


Shocked that this averages four stars. Off-kilter, challenging (for pop), poetic genius. Five stars period

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Huge surprise


I didn't expect that I'd listen to this album that much after first listen but it really has grown on me. It's rare that a band can exist for over 15 years and still produce exciting and relevant music.

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some track are better thought out then others...alot of good sound but also alot of messy details

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Don't Miss the Boat!


If this is your first Modest Mouse album, good choice, you're gonna love it! If you're a long time fan, sit back and bask in the brilliance of this album and contemplate just how far Issac has come as a songwriter.

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Great Rode Trip Album


Download and hit the open road. Get lost in the Poetry and bob your head to the melody.

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Love it all


There seems to be two camps when it comes to Modest Mouse. those who started from the beginning and have soured on the last few albums and those who joined when "Float On" gained radioplay. I happen to enjoy the entire progression of this band and enjoy the faster tempo of this album. Isaac's unique voice and well crafted song writing make for a fun listen without all of the moodiness of some of the earlier work.

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Thank you Johnny!


For sticking it out with these wonderful snot nosed not so young adults. Your addition to this band has made such an impact on the sound, the beauty, the range. It's amazing how it still sounds like MM, but so much smarter, bigger, gorgeous. Thank you Johnny Marr. Thank you Modest Mouse. Don't skimp & cherry pick. Get the whole album. You'll thank yourself later.

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Why, Johnny, why?


Why does my favorite guitarist of all time play in the Bobcat Goldthwait band?

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They Say All Music Guide

Now that Modest Mouse have fully established themselves as a major-label indie rock band — no longer an oxymoron! — with the success of 2004′s Good News for People Who Love Bad News (though they had actually been on Sony, through Epic, since 2000′s The Moon & Antarctica), they face the difficult task of trying to follow up a mainstream hit while still retaining the adroit quirkiness that won them fans in the first place. Finding that space between “creativity” and “accessibility” is not easy, but the band (with help from Johnny Marr, among others) is probably as well, if not better, equipped as anyone to tackle the challenge. The first single, “Dashboard,” is catchy and interesting, even a little off-kilter, but it’s also completely radio-friendly, in that dancey Franz Ferdinand kind of way, and the album’s opener, “March into the Sea,” has great juxtaposition between Isaac Brock’s maniacal Cookie Monster laugh and lighter accordion and string work. It’s slightly unconventional, and has that raucous energy the band has thrived on, but it’s also wholly understandable and approachable, and a lot of fun. Still, too often it seems as if Modest Mouse plays it safe on We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. James Mercer, the singer of the “life-changing” Garden State darlings the Shins, shows up three times on background vocals, and while on “Florida” this works well enough, “Missed the Boat” and “We’ve Got Everything” are among the weakest tracks on the record, too predictable, in that radio-indie-rock style, to do much more than just take up space. There’s nothing overtly wrong with them (or the similarly boring “Education” or “People as Places as People”) — Brock’s lyrics are as wackily introspective as ever — but the band had never just gotten by on being nice-sounding and unmemorable. It’s not that Modest Mouse has lost it, or sold out; tracks like “Parting of the Sensory” and “Fly Trapped in a Jar” combine digestible guitar lines and phrasing with a rawer intensity, and show that the group is indeed capable of moving innovate “indie” music to the mainstream (“someday you will die somehow and something’s gonna steal your carbon,” Brock sings ingeniously over pounding, swirling drums in a kind of post-modern chant in “Parting”), but overall, We Were Dead Before… has chosen the safer, more acceptable route over the more adventurous one. Modest Mouse is a talented bunch, and so the album still works, is still enjoyable. But because they’ve built themselves on pushing boundaries and traditional sounds, it’s also a glaring representation of all they could do, but won’t. – Marisa Brown

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