Final Fantasy inevitably gets compared to Andrew Bird, and that's understandable: Even before I knew that FF's auteur, Owen Pallett, uses a similar violin-plus-foot-pedal-looping-sampler technique, they seemed linked sonically. More than once I've found myself listening to Pallett's 2006 release, He Poos Clouds, and thinking that Bird's "Sovay" or "Banking on a Myth" was playing, only to realize that it was actually Pallett's "If I Were a Carp." Final Fantasy replaces Bird's vocabularian nature and smirkiness with Pallett's own haughty, snarky, Toronto-flavored wit, but they still seem like kindred spirits, at the very least.

Pallett warrants much more attention than merely this comparison, though, in much the same way that Clouds has a lot more going for it than the curious fact that he used the eight schools of magic from Dungeons & Dragons as a starting point. You've gotta love a guy with a gorgeous voice that can lilt along with a chamber orchestra while singing lyrics like, "Now his mind will start to wander when he's not at his computer/Now his massive genitals refuse to cooperate/And no amount of therapy can hope to save his marriage." The song in question, "This Lamb Sells Condos," takes on even more meaning when you realize that the "Lamb" Pallett refers to is a Toronto real estate agent who is clogging the city's landscape with condos.

Album closer "Pooka Sings" mixes chromatically rising chords with a cinematic approach: Eventually the words drop out and the song switches gears to a piano section that could perfectly soundtrack a middle school kid riding his bike back home after school, blurry film focusing on his glee, on his sudden realization that he's found the seventh grade girl of his dreams. It's a weird little song, and that's how Final Fantasy keeps you coming back—bits of beauty, observations that make you smile, and a whole lot of mystery.