Ugly Casanova, Sharpen Your Teeth

By Peter Hemminger

The best thing about Modest Mouse is that no matter how far out they go, there’s a certain earthiness that pervades the music and ties it down to reality. On Sharpen Your Teeth, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock’s first “solo” album, this tie is strained if not altogether broken. Abandoning the Pixies influence that made him famous and replacing it with Tom Waits style strangeness, Brock and co. have created an album that is in parts pretentious, strange, irritating, and utterly beautiful.

A concept album of sorts, Sharpen Your Teeth is allegedly based on the journals of a crazed fan who wrote under the pen name Ugly Casanova. Listening to the album bounce from the outright weirdness of "Beesting" to the stomping "Pacifico" before eventually settling down for the haunting "So Long to the Holidays," that story isn’t so hard to believe.