Clues Clues

On their startling, intricate debut, Montreal's Clues enter the alternate universe of the Flaming Lips for a blast of contemporary underground pop driven by angular arrangements and gritty noise. Founders Alden Penner (ex-Unicorns) and Brendan Reed (ex-Arcade Fire, ex-Les Angles Morts) are mainstays in the world of weird music-making and there's visceral rawness to Clues, whose fury and emotion are bolstered by engineer Radwan Moumneh at Hotel2Tango. The mood range of Clues is enhanced by immediacy, of being pinned close to the sound, and that sonic effect is evident here. Penner's airy, deceptively gentle voice is fake sugar on jarring songs like "Haarp." "Approach the Throne" overlays an Eastern European incantation upon a decidedly urban post-punk pastiche of jagged, muted chords and punchy, inexplicable drums, all begging for a live sing-along. Harmonious ballads like "Elope" belie a playful edge, while "Cave Mouth" erupts with snarling guitars, infectious vocal melodies and booming rhythms. Sudden and unexpected, Clues lead listeners on in a glorious way. ()