At first blush, Roommate's "Songs the Animals Taught Us" sounds like a not particularly distinguished and somewhat less than usually polished version of Postal Service-style sweet indie pop electronica, but as you listen the beats become stranger, more compelling and more fragmented, and lyrics that at first seem harmlessly nonsensical turn out to be full of barbs about consumerism and life in wartime. It's a somewhat inscrutable album, and one that never fully declares its purpose or settles into any easily graspable patters, but it's a more intriguing listen for that inscrutability. You can download "Tuesday," "Hot Commods" and "Fresh Boys" from Roommate's Web site to get a sense. "Typhoon" sticks out as the most gutsy track here (here's a Salon exclusive download of it) an unexpected foray into electro-pop with a barely coherent structure that nonetheless manages to build from faintly absurd genre rehash to something affecting and unmistakably unique. Better still is "RP (Forget the Metaphors)," a hilarious, bizarre and strangely moving song about River Phoenix from Roommate's recently reissued 2001 "Celebs" EP.