In the indie-rock canon, the Pacific Northwest gets its rep mostly from its Seattle and Olympia greats. But the best Pac-NW album of the year is just a ferry ride away from Seattle, and perhaps the short distance (and free Canadian health care) was all it took for Victoria, 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 geographically spot, from the Built to Spill-like guitar hooks in "Weekends at a Time" to the Sleater-Kinney-type grrrl-gruff on "Goldenhead." But it's much harder to pin down, as songs frequently transform and shapeshift, not spastically but tastefully; it's the best pop-rock combo of ambition and catchiness released so far this year. The opener, "Island's Gone... More >>>