Today I wanted to shed a little light and love on a track that was a late-bloomer for me. Modest Mouse’s 2007 effort We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank managed to scrape out an honorable mention on my 2007 Best Of…, but has since surpassed almost every record on that list in terms of durability. At the time, I liked the record OK, but I wasn’t in love with it. Mostly, I just really liked ‘Dashboard’. A lot.
With three years gone by, I still listen to the album as much as I did when it dropped. As time wore on, I began to get a little more comfortable with the latter half, which initially had seemed like more generic Modest-Mouse-jam-out fare, which I don’t care for, at least not a priori. In particular, the penultimate track, ‘People As Places As People‘, gave me something to look forward to.
For one, it’s not that long of a song, at least by MM standards. The structure is fairly standard, but the real strength of the song is in the textures. Johnny Marr earns his keep and lives up to his reputation with a standout twang-tastic solo, the percussion is steady without being boring, and, perhaps not surprisingly, Brock’s voice laces the whole thing up perfectly into a tight package that rounds out the album.
I’m having trouble further qualifying why I like the song so much, aside from the above, and my long-standing adoration of Isaac Brock’s lyrical prowess. It’s perfectly placed, and perfectly executed, and stands as a testament to the skill a great group in their prime.