Now that James Mercer has sanded off the rougher edges of the Shins' once-eccentric sound in favor of strictly professional pop sheen, it's left to fresh-faced newcomers like Said the Whale to carry the quirk-pop torch. Their recently unveiled third full-length, Little Mountain, finds the Vancouver quintet up to the task. Frontman Tyler Bancroft's regionally specific tales of twentysomething longing ("Big Sky, MT") work equally well whether dressed up as folk-rock sea-shanties or taut power-pop nuggets, anchored by a band of capable multi-instrumentalists who clearly revel in throwing atypical elements into the mix. Already something of a big deal in their native Canada, where they nabbed new group of the year at the 2011 Juno awards, Said the Whale bring their gargantuan sound to the relatively Lilliputian confines of the 400 Bar here in the Cities as they seek to establish an equally buzzed-over presence stateside. With Chains of Love, Honorable Trees. 18+.
Fri., April 20, 7:30 p.m., 2012