As long as bands such as Arcade Fire, the New Pornographers and Ottawa’s Wooden Stars are putting out records, Canada will continue to export some great music. It’s been eight years since the Wooden Stars’ previous album, but the hiatus hasn’t damaged the group’s ability to crank out post-punk, indie rock and angular guitar excursions.

There are bits of XTC, the Talking Heads and even the Minutemen on People Are Different. The abstract lyrics contrast the personal and the public: references to organized religion, drug abuse and blue-collar jobs are balanced against heartbreak, performing on stage (the Bravery-ish, poppy pleasure nugget “Microphone”) and fatalities (shimmering, math-rock meets jazz-rock piece “Boating Accident”).

The cerebral arrangements have both punch and conceptual traits, but the inspired melodies are what hold this whole package together, keeping the lopsided quirks from getting in the way of accessibility.

Grade: B

People Are Different is currently available.