Well-imagined cross between Trail of Dead and Flaming Lips with splashes of Canada-indie in there (will this fricking xylophone insanity ever end?), vocals reminiscent of Wayne Coyne at first, then tacking toward My Chemical Romance when singer Craig Minowa gets warmed up. Actually it’s less easily definable than that given the baroque and Native American influences that dart in and out in the form of cello rinses and hi-yi-yi rhythms, and “You Were Born” becomes downright symphonic, like Wild Light backed by the New York Philharmonic. “Mr. Roboto”-style effects, occasional glitch and bold tribal drums head up “The Exploding People,” which is as sweepingly classic as any mid-’70s Queen/ELO material. And so it goes on this expensive-sounding work, “Room Full of People In Your Head” moving from noisy industrial to experimental chamber-pop in ways Mars Volta could only dream about, “Running With the Wolves” opening on a dream-pop note before settling on a post-shoegaze U2-ish groove. I could go on (what else is new) but suffice to say that this is directly competitive to Decemberists and surpasses those guys in many categories; I’m sure a lot of these tracks are growers, would that I had the time to allow them to flourish, but you definitely should.
B+ — Eric W. Saeger