If eyes truly are the windows to the soul, then tonight we learn nothing about [a]Modest Mouse[/a].

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London Highbury Garage

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London Highbury Garage

If eyes truly are the windows to the soul, then tonight we learn nothing about [a]Modest Mouse[/a]. Their singing guitarist Isaac Brock keeps his firmly screwed shut throughout. Luckily we have his voice to guide us, and that’s busy spitting, shouting and murmuring snippets of world-weary bar room philosophy and blue-collar tales of hope, loss and struggling by.

Once hailed as the new [a]Nirvana[/a], thanks primarily to a couple of middling grungey albums and a Seattle zip code, such comparisons now seem rather slight. Their latest album, ‘Moon & Antarctica’, proves [a]Modest Mouse[/a] know about a lot more than just the simple loud/quiet dynamic.

Basing their songs around the simplest of structures, Brock takes a chord and batters it repeatedly until it loops and conforms to whatever shape he chooses. ‘I Came As A Rat’ or ‘3rd Planet’ veer from almost Smog-like country inflection into bouts of prolonged, lacerating noise and show they’re capable of becoming the next American band to burn a hole in our hearts.

Riff chasing has never sounded so much like bruised hypnosis. [a]Modest Mouse[/a] are stepping out from the long shadows of Seattle and casting a few of their own.