Pets Love And War

Haling from Steinbach, Manitoba, Love And War is an ambitious debut from the Pets. It has a varied feel to it, stemming from all four members writing songs. They've obviously all listened to more than their fair share of music in their time, because you can hear more than just your typical snatches of the Beatles and the Beach Boys scattered throughout - driving power-pop, Beck-like beats and tons of lovely vocal harmonies. It skirts around Elephant 6 territory without fully committing to psychedelia - but enough to keep Apples In Stereo fans happy. Normally, a 72-minute album would test anyone's stamina, but Love And War doesn't really drag at all. Even the more epic songs (some of which clock in at over eight minutes) don't outstay their welcome, thanks to a deft touch that almost turns them into mini-operas. The production is a little light-handed - both a good thing and a bad thing - giving the album a slightly tinny sound, but it isn't too off-putting. This is one of the more impressive debuts I've heard from a Canadian band in quite some time and it should win the band a dedicated following. (Endearing)