Shapes and Sizes
The best Pacific Northwest album of the year is just a ferry ride away from Seattle, and perhaps the short distance (and free Canadian healthcare) was all it took for British Columbia's Shapes and Sizes to craft such a captivating love letter to the region. The quartet's self-titled debut is easy to spot geographically, from the Built to Spill guitar-rock hooks in "Weekends at a Time" to the Sleater-Kinney grrl-gruff on "Goldenhead," but much more difficult to pin down, for songs frequently transform and shapeshift not spastically but tastefully in the best pop-rock combo of ambition and catchiness released so far this year. After listening to these ten dizzying songs, you might need free Canadian healthcare too: Shapes and Sizes could make you pass out.
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