March 20, 2007

Modest Mouse: We Were Dead... REVIEWED

Some of the heavyweights have weighed in with their take on the latest from Modest Mouse. I've never been much of a MM fan, I barely know their previous albums, but I love some of the songs on that Ugly Casanova album. Although from what I do know this new effort sounds much more commercial and will keep those who discovered the band through the song "Float On" happy. Also, I was under the mistaken impression that Brock wrote lyrics that stood out from the crowd... I see no evidence of that from this album. Evidently he's more of a tunesmith than a wordsmith.

Here's what some of the big boys (and girls) had to say.

From The New York Times:

Musically We Were Dead is about as clangorous as you might expect — "Steam Engenius" works hard to deserve its mechanistic lyrics — but it also has more of a pop sensibility than previous Modest Mouse efforts. This has something to do with the presence of the guitarist Johnny Marr, formerly a driving force of the Smiths. In ways that are noticeable but subtle, Mr. Marr lightens and softens the album. To a lesser extent, so does James Mercer of the Shins, singing background vocals on some tracks.
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From Prefix Mag:

Hyper-produced and hyperactive, the members of Modest Mouse have virtually jettisoned their balance of angry stomping anthems mixed with the earnest slow-burners that gave them some heart ("Edit the Sad Parts" and West's "Bankrupt on Selling") in favor of a jarring, nonstop assault.
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From Pitchfork:

...the most successful track on We Were Dead is the one that pushes hardest against the group's established formula: the almost gaudy single "Dashboard". With Modest Mouse's trademark itchy guitars all but drowned out by brass fanfares and slurring strings, "Dashboard" is the Vegas version of "Float On", and it works as an experiment to see just how far they can push the dissonance of Brock's multi-tracked barking against slick, commercially ambitious surroundings.
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From Entertainment Weekly:

Meanwhile, Brock has never sounded more charismatic, or chameleonlike, as he alternately croons, spits, and bronchially howls through lyrics which, though as gnomic as on previous albums, boast a distinct nautical theme. Talk of oceans, boats, and ''saline tea'' — whatever that is — pepper proceedings like some dark, hallucinogenic tribute to the Jimmy Buffett oeuvre.
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From The LA Times:

But, at 62 minutes, this album feels self-indulgent, and some of the 14 songs leave little impression. Still, there's "Float On"-esque sing-along potential in, among others, the elastic, sardonic "We've Got Everything".
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