Muppets have a signature move when panicking or otherwise freaking out: With their heads back and mouths gaping, their limp arms flail uncontrollably. Modest Mouse figurehead Isaac Brock holds his larynx to similar rigor to force the anxious squalls that define his band's otherwise chameleonic career. The Portland, Washington, group has tightened its sound considerably during its fifteen-year transformation — from a delightfully unhinged indie rock band that often says "goddamn" to a solid, mostly sunny pop band that often says "goddamn." While the band's latest records lack the disarming charm of Modest Mouse's past, Brock's puppet-string vocal cords remain an unsettling constant: The familiar voice of imperfection and welcome bit of tarnish ensures Modest Mouse stays relatively unpolished.
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