Despite obvious talent and ambition, The Magpies have remained as elusive around here as our feathered friend—scientific name Pica pica—is ubiquitous. The trio's most recent album, pica pica, is also its best, and it is a year old. I can say that missing this was a very unfortunate oversight, but the fact that pica pica is only now being reviewed in these pages has to do with the group's geographical preferences. Now claiming Missoula as home, they've spent more time in the past few years making movies in Havre than making music in the Garden City. Citizens of Great Falls and Bozeman are probably more familiar with this band's particular genius. That should change. Guitarist Tolan Harber and bassist Samantha Pollington share vocals with the same energy and chemistry that made X the best band in Los Angeles. It comes as no surprise that Harber and Pollington are married, and couple-driven art punk acts like X and Sonic Youth are obvious influences, but the catchiest songs on pica pica also call to mind '80s alt-pop acts like the B52s. I'm calling this the album of the summer, and I don't care if you heard it last summer. Listen again.
The Magpies play the Palace Thursday, May 20, at 9 PM with Rooster Sauce and The New Hijackers. $5.