Montreal’s Stills have four strikes against them: they’re pretty boys, they stare at the ground when they play, they’re backed by Vice’s bullshit empire of cool, and they call themselves “multilingual art-school socialists.” But their first full-length CD, Logic Will Break Your Heart (Vice), is actually one heck of an album, even if it does sound tailor-made to score points with both ladies and label execs. Spiking his scruffy masculinity with just the right dose of wuss, front man Tim Fletcher croons like a heartbroken boozer who’s seen more than any 25-year-old can handle. He’s a little over-the-top, but I still want to hold him and tell him everything’s gonna be all right. While Fletcher’s vocals trickle over cavernous chord progressions ripped off from Echo & the Bunnymen and accentuated by slide-guitar sighs and synthesized whooshes, Dave Hamelin pounds drums like a caveman. Canned pop beats and jaunty bass lines add depth to the wistful melodies, and when a noisy guitar threatens to fly off the handle, overpowering all, a tinny cymbal crash cuts through and quiets the din. Such blatant contrast of weak and powerful is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but when done right it can be a tool for perspective–and Logic Will Break Your Heart is excellent as just that. Just make sure you’re in the mood to do some brooding before you put it on. Perfect Panther opens. Monday, January 26, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jelle Wagenaar.