The Second Most Famous Mouse

Modest Mouse has avoided using a higher budget – a perk to being signed to a major label – toindulge in excesses or to muddle their sound. Instead, the band has used this luxury to explore their genre, as any weathered band should do.

On their new album, “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank,” Isaac Brock and company deliver a 14-song album that rocks just as hard as any of their previous albums; this time around, their sound has been thickened by ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. James Mercer of the Shins also lent his voice to two of the tracks.

Although radio-friendly, the album’s first single, “Dashboard,” is unmistakably a Brock composition. The rest of the album features the band’s trademark angular rhythms and Brock’s signature delivery of his poetic lyrics. In typical Modest Mouse fashion, the mood of the album swings from somber to elated and back again.

Modest Mouse knows how to keep you on your toes, following up high energy tunes like “Fly Trapped in a Jar” with more melodic, reflective songs like “Education.” Fans will find whatthey love about Modest Mouse’s previous albums in “We Were Dead” and it will hook new listeners with a few catchy songs, like “People as Places as People,” as well the sheer power of songs like “Invisible.”

Modest Mouse has continued to grow artistically, and this latest effort documents a solid step in the right direction of their development.