Brave Radar Distracting Strangers

Montreal’s buzzing scene can always be trusted for springing pleasant surprises on us, which is exactly what boy/girl duo Brave Radar have done with this debut. The fun begins with the utterly disarming "Something,” which takes you by the hand and melts you with its gaze before slipping away all too quickly. Thankfully, this fleeting giddiness comes back again and again on these songs, as the twosome go from bouncy pop to quirky folk to distorted Yo La Tengo-type ditties ensconced in a snug lo-fi buzz without breaking a sweat. Crucially, Tessa Smith and Conor Prendergast’s brittle vocals waver to and fro with detached coolness — they’re cryptic enough to keep you on your toes but personal and vulnerable enough to feel reassuringly familiar. Homespun charm may be a trademark of many a modestly recorded debut but it’s seldom you find a record that works as well on as many levels as this one. (Fixture)