March 20, 2007

JOHNNY MARR NEVER GOES OUT:

Modest Mouse: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (Annie Zaleski, March 21, 2007, City Pages)

Ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr knows a little something about dealing with strong-willed vocalists (ahem, Morrissey), so it's no surprise that his contributions to the poppiest Modest Mouse record yet are solid. But it's still a treat to hear how focused Isaac Brock and Co. are on the lushly arranged We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, perhaps thanks to new member Marr's steadying veteran influence. "Dashboard" is Talking Heads taking a spin at the roller disco (and is Ship's über-mainstream moment, à la "Float On"), while other songs channel the maritime folk of the Waterboys and Pogues, strident dance-punk, and (as usual) Built to Spill's nervous energy and Pavement's drawl. Even the occasional nods to Modest Mouse's less-accessible days (i.e., the string-storm "Parting of the Sensory," whose ominous chords and chorus--"Someday you will die somehow and something's gonna steal your carbon"--thunder like a fire-and-brimstone sermon) somehow feel more mystical than manic.


Posted by Orrin Judd at March 20, 2007 8:04 PM
Comments

Modest Mouse has a lot to be modest about. A lot.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 21, 2007 5:56 AM
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