Little Beirut is a rare bird: a cerebral indie rock band. While most such groups seem motivated by mainstream pursuits, on their commercial debut album High Dive, the Portland quartet takes jabs at politicians (the foursome’s name is a reference to Bush, Sr.), writes about avant-garde movie icons and name checks ’80s punk and ’90s Southern twang musicians.

High Dive’s most notorious piece is “Love During Wartime,” a deconstructive love song to Condoleeza Rice, among other topics. Another highlight is alt-rocker “Belle de Jour,” an homage to French actress Catherine Deneuve.

Some tunes stray too close to radio-friendly fodder (“Star Maps” sounds like any number of similar pop/rock tracks heard along the Sunset Strip any given night), but overall Little Beirut avoids falling into the format over substance trap.

Grade: B

High Dive is currently available.