Ugly Casanova
Sharpen Your Teeth


3.5
great

Review

by tom79 USER (76 Reviews)
October 10th, 2008 | 29 replies | 9,050 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Modest Mouse mastermind Isaac Brock creates an introspective acoustic record with a handul of gems

1 of 2 thought this review was well written

Two years after the release of what is arguably their classic in The Moon and Antarctica, Modest Mouse front man Isaac Brock gave his shot at a side project and released an album under the moniker Ugly Casanova on Sub Pop. Sharpen Your Teeth is a varied record consisting of some of the most poignant lyrics Brock has written and a handful of brilliant songs, but scattered in the batch are a few slip-ups, some due to length or repetitiveness, others to being almost too experimental to be enjoyable, but nevertheless interesting.

Sharpen Your Teeth is very much a personal and introspective record, but that is where the similarities with Modest Mouse end. Other than the familiarity of Brock’s unique vocals and signature drug influenced lyrics about the space, loneliness, and the afterlife, Ugly Casanova is very much different than anything he has done. In the dozen songs presented, styles fluctuate between the calm, soothing acoustic ballads to the unconventional side of Isaac Brock, with an eclectic use of instruments throughout.

Where Sharpen Your Teeth flourishes is on its calm, dreary acoustic songs where it is mainly just Brock and a guitar complete with his allusions to nature and surrealistic descriptions. In possibly the records brightest outing, Cat Faces, Brock sings “Swallows drop in, and dash the sky; Tracing lines of cursive on the horizon” over minimalist guitar strums. So Long to the Holidays adds percussion and backing vocals into the mix, and at almost six minutes shows a wandering, instrumental side with lyrics taking a backseat. Smoke Like Ribbons is akin to the aforementioned songs but has Brock singing more up-tempo and cheerily which is a welcome change in a sea of somberness.

Brock’s work is not the most accessible at times and Sharpen Your Teeth has areas that are no exception. Spilled Milk Factory is an oddity in the set with its bluesy background and high pitched, layered vocals which makes for an interesting listen but might not have you coming back to it often. Ice on the Sheets, despite its groovy rhythm, suffers from being overly long without change and Brock's vocals which sound as though sung through a loud muffled speaker. Parasites probably most resembles a Modest Mouse number, with Brock's clear and dominant singing, a catchy acoustic riff and an effective use of horns. Diamonds on the face of Evil, which could pass for a Tom Waits song, stands out with rugged vocals over a backdrop that wouldn’t be out of place on Rain Dogs.

One distinct quality of Sharpen Your Teeth is there is no song that goes unnoticed or is just “there”, because either they stand out for the better, worse, or simply because you just haven’t heard a song like it before. The only thing that could have done without is the forgettable 49 second interlude Beesting.

With Sharpen Your Teeth Isaac Brock puts forth some of his most artistic and thought provoking work. Despite some missteps, Sharpen Your Teeth boasts a handful of gems. Big fans of Modest Mouse should have no reason not to like this, as this is classic Isaac Brock, but newcomers interested might want to try some early Modest Mouse albums before venturing into Ugly Casanova.

Recommended Tracks
Cat Faces
Hotcha Girls
Parasites
So Long to the Holidays



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Comments:Add a Comment 
iamrockzorz
October 10th 2008



1029 Comments


such a brilliant record. picked this up by accident and isaac is so tight.

Granfalloon
October 10th 2008



176 Comments


really liked this. Isaac is so bizarre.

Kiran
Emeritus
October 12th 2008



6001 Comments


I had no idea Isaac had a solo record. I just listened to Cat Faces and Hotcha Girls and this seems good.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
October 12th 2008



862 Comments


Got this a little while ago, it's really good. Review's good too.

aceramicbunny
February 3rd 2009



4 Comments


Barnacles is the only thing that immediately wowed me, but I think I just need to give the album more time.

PanasonicYouth
May 18th 2009



7411 Comments


I downloaded this last night and... Goddamnit if Isaac Brock isn't one of my heroes. Great album is great.

Kashmir09
September 10th 2009



772 Comments


This sounds delicious, I must, I say I must have this

Kiran
Emeritus
September 10th 2009



6001 Comments


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!

RobertDennis2
October 6th 2009



134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I stab with pistols those who have not heard this and loved it like a shipwrecked newborn with tuberculosis

charlesfishowitz
October 6th 2009



1794 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

farts

Acanthus
September 7th 2010



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Hotcha Girls" brings back so many road trip memories, I love this album.

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door

ckunke002
April 28th 2011



1033 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I never really knew Isaac had a 2nd band until a few weeks ago, then bought this album. It's so good, I barely want to go back to Modest Mouse.

pedroia55
February 17th 2012



1461 Comments


shey shaw shey shaw

ohfoxxxycole
February 22nd 2012



4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

isaac could do anything and id eat it

ohfoxxxycole
March 16th 2012



4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i said that less than a month ago and i dont remember it

fraderic
March 16th 2012



114 Comments


oh man i should be in bed

ohfoxxxycole
March 16th 2012



4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea man rest your pretty head

fraderic
March 16th 2012



114 Comments


goodnight

EditTheSadParts
September 14th 2012



39 Comments


Spilled Milk Factory is actually my favourite song on here, its awesome.

EaglesBecomeVultures
May 13th 2013



5217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bump

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