There must be something in the cold mountain water of British Columbia that keeps its artists so impossibly hard to pigeonhole. From Frog Eyes to Destroyer, Canada's Northwest consistently churns out indie rock that is as dangerous and unwieldy as it is melodious and delectable, and Victoria's Shapes and Sizes are no exception. Their self-titled debut for Asthmatic Kitty is a veritable factory of sound that pulls its fangs from the Pixies, its head from the Decemberists and its heart from Elephant Six bands like Elf Power and the Apples in Stereo without forsaking any of their own vision. Crushing power chords give way to jazzy horn arrangements ("I Am Cold") and atonal ballads ("Topsy Turvey") that sound like an unholy marriage between Deerhoof and Faun Fables. Vocals are traded between male and female -- Caila Thompson-Hannant is a revelation, able to go from Chrissie Hynde to Kim Deal in under a second -- with occasional bursts of harmony that are as wickedly affecting as they are surprising. Even straight-ahead rockers like "Wilderness" and "Island's Gone Bad" evolve and dissolve when you least expect them, resulting in a truly impressive debut that should make more than a few year-end critics lists.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger