Sound — 8
First off, I'd like to state that this CD is not selling it. It's the band experimenting with their music. Sure, there is more pop tones in it, but it still retains everything that makes Modest Mouse unique. It's very different from their other albums in regards to sound; it is more cheerful and a lot less bitter. This isn't a good or bad thing, it's just different. They still have the twangy guitar riffs, killer vocals, and weird instrumentation (I'm not sure what half these instruments are called) but somehow they can pull it all into one album. Whether you're a new listener of the Mouse or have been with them from the first, I think this album is enjoyable though for some of their fans it will be hard to swallow.
Lyrics — 10
As usual, Isaac Brock has shown through once again. In my opinion he is the best songwriter I've ever heard. The lyrics are raw and powerful, yet refined. They can be interpreted so many different ways. Once again, he's pulled through with satire and cynicism & mixed with hopefulness. As far as the meaningfulness; every song has a different feeling behind it but somehow Brock manages to fit it all together, as usual. Definitely the most original indies album as of lately.
Overall Impression — 9
Modest Mouse has been my favorite band for 5 years. Though overall this album is good, it has some rough spots. I had a tough time coming to grips with their new sound; I'm still a bigger fan of their earlier stuff. But now I can see it as just musical developement. They deserve the publicity. The first song that struck me from this album was Little Motel. I never thought I'd hear Brock sing a slow love song (or say darling) and genuinely mean it. Spitting Venom is possibly the most lyrically genius relationship song I've heard (We carry in the groceries/While taking out the trash/And if this doesn't make us motionless then I don't know what can) and is definitely an underrated edition to the album. I still skip a few songs but they're all growing on me. Modest Mouse is an aquired taste, but if you listen to this album and dig a little deeper than the pop sound, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank should be a welcome addition to anyone's library.