[THE LONESOME CROWDED NORTHWEST] Ever since moving to Portland in 2008, Morning Teleportation has been tagged the Next Big Thing. Its pedigree is peerless—handpicked by Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock to jump-start his label, Glacial Pace, the band has opened for the Flaming Lips, wowed New York Times critic Jon Pareles, and destroyed local stages with a chaotic live show highlighting its penchant for genre-hopping and boundless energy. But on its debut album, Expanding Anyway, Morning Teleportation is a band without an identity. 

Expanding Anyway attempts to channel the band's frantic energy into a cohesive full-length with varied results. The album is named perfectly: Almost every track is a maximalist construction of excess, with instruments piled higher than Brock's post-"Float On" bank account. It's hard to fault a young band with so much ambition, but most of the record tries too hard to be wild and trippy. The band frequently ruins a song by striving for weirdness—does opener "Boom Puma" really need a squealing talk box guitar solo and a barroom piano breakdown within its first two minutes? Coupled with the grunts and gibberish howls of lead singer Tiger Merritt, it sounds like a drug trip gone very bad. 

Not everything veers into Enter the Void territory: The title track is Modest Mouse-y in the best way possible, with Merritt's endearing wails fronting a great melody and a rollicking backbeat. Morning Teleportation fares best when it keeps things simple, as on acoustic-picker "Day Dream Electric Storm" and the bouncy "Eyes the Same." Merritt's got a killer voice when he really opens up and sings—I just wish it wasn't hidden behind a cacophony of disparate sounds.

SEE IT: Morning Teleportation releases Expanding Anyway on Thursday, March 10, at Doug Fir. 9 pm. $10. 21+.