Finn Riggins is what happens when music majors attack. The Hailey, Idaho, band's latest recording hits pop a good one upside the head. Each member of the three-piece is credited with playing at least three instruments on the album. All three players sing, too, and they do it well. The result is a wall of finely detailed sound that is as bracingly complex as it is catchy.
"Dali" sounds like Blondie meets Yes in the Caribbean. I can only describe "Furs" and "Vs. Bird" as super-spy adventure dance themes. In "Mahoney," Finn Riggins breaks out the prog rock with a driving beat and layered, rhythmic vocals building to a frenzied conclusion.
Vs. Wilderness is a kick-ass album. Every track more than holds its own, and it's hard to choose a favorite, but I've got it narrowed down to two: "Shaky" and "Wake (Keep This Town Alive"). Lisa Simpson's luminous vocals on "Shaky" flirt with a sweet, drifting melody on steel drum, guitar and organ. On "Wake," Finn Riggins adds a pinch of gospel to a Matt & Kim-style synth-pop crowd pleaser. I haven't heard whoa-oh-oh used this well in months.
Finn Riggins plays the Palace Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 9 PM with Broken Valley Roadshow. $5.