There are two types of people in the world. Those who like Modest Mouse, and those who liked Modest Mouse.
And their latest album "We were dead before the ship even sank" seems unlikely to change that basic fact.
It's unfortunate that whenever bands change musically there are people who will always be unwilling to move with the band.
Modest Mouse's problem is that songwriter and singer Isaac Brock used to be an alcoholic, a condition which had a lot of impact of their sound, resulting in them being a sort of stoner jam-band with scathingly pessimistic lyrics, the sort which appeal perhaps only to resolute self-loathers. Cue a recent sobering up and now Modest Mouse produce bouncy and jazzy pop numbers with a decent amount of inherent craziness. Which begs the question. Did they pull off this transition?
A profound yes should be sufficient to answer that, but i'll carry on anyway. Throwing in a somewhat mixed bag of deranged sea-shantys, the afroementoned jazzy pop numbers and surprisingly touching balad-esque songs. Modest Mouse have crafted an album which is genuinely uplifting. Many of the songs resonate with the idea that everything in life is temporary and can be lost in a split-second but nonetheless, they're worth having just for the experience. This is also perhaps a very apt description of their songs too. They only last a short time and can end suddenly, but you always leave each track with a feeling that it was nevertheless a worthwhile experience.
Lead single "Dashboard" is the song most in the vein of their hit single "Float On" (from their previous album 'Good News...') but it is a relatively poor representation of what's on display here. A roll call of the stand out tracks reveals high tempo, rough and ready track "Florida" which keeps inisting on bursting into a sing-a-long, as well as "Little Motel", a slow yearning song about the place where love ends. Which should be more than enough to keep both types of people in the world happy.