Sound — 10
"We Were Dead..." is much different from previous Modest Mouse albums as far as attitude goes, but their classic, passionate sound hasn't much lost steam. They have become more orchestrated, incorporating plenty of horns and synths as well as intricate riffs and and spastic vocals. "We Were Dead..." arguably sounds like the Talking Heads on speed; fast, furious, and incredibly entertaining.
Lyrics — 9
Isaac Brock's famous barking-style, Talking Headsish way of singing is constant here. He opens up with the cryptic, quite-loud "March Into The Sea" and goes into "Dashboard" with lots of intensity and surprisingly, optimism. Lyrics like "Well we scheme and we scheme but we always blow it/We've yet to crash but we still might as well enjoy it" show that perphaps Modest Mouse are beginning to see the bright side of life. The lyrics on "Spitting Venom," "Invisible," and "Missed The Boat" are impeccable. And the back up from James Mercer (The Shins) and other members of the band on "dashboard" and "We've Got Everything" are immensely entertaining.
Overall Impression — 10
The evolution of Modest Mouse's music seems to be constant and WWDBTSES is a prime example of this. New guitarist Johnny Marr (The Smiths) brings a lot to the table on this ocean-themed album, and from the awesome first three tracks (especially the thumping Dashboard) to the final racous that is "Invisible", we are swept up in a sea of horns, synths, effects, Balalaika, and James Mercer. The bizarre effects and the crooning back up vocals stay for this record, and Isaac Brock and co. keep the tunes at a nice pace and throw in plenty of surprises. As far as I'm concerned, the best Modest Mouse record to date and one of the best indie lp's since R.E.M.'s Murmur. "Spitting Venom" is an instant and epic classic and "Dashboard" is the best song of 2006.