When The Ruby Suns’ main mover Ryan McPhun alighted in Oslo, Norway in the winter of 2010, he knew he’d found an artistic haven. Recently split from his long-term girlfriend and bandmate, on holiday from his adopted home of New Zealand, McPhun was ready for something new.

He’d always been a musical wayfarer, collecting sounds and styles from his travels around the globe, depositing influences and ephemera into three knockout Ruby Suns albums (2006’s The Ruby Suns, 2008’s Sea Lion and 2010’s Fight Softly). In Scandinavia—amidst its icy architecture and sky-high fjords, not to mention the indomitable gloss-pop that’s the region’s leading export—he discovered the inspiration for the album you’re now holding in your hands.

Christopher is an album about starting over, but not necessarily moving forward. It’s a breakup album, but as one listen will tell you, not necessarily a sad one. It’s McPhun’s fourth record for Memphis Industries, third for Sub Pop and first mixed by an A-list engineer: Chris Coady of Beach House, Grizzly Bear, Gang Gang Dance and a zillion more. McPhun spent two weeks at Coady’s studio in New York. Together they polished Christopher to an opalescent sheen, yielding the kind of expensive-sounding, future-leaning ear candy typically in the province of Top 40 radio.

McPhun makes his own brand of pop—accessible and unconventional, ethereal and concise, modern and timeless. In that regard, Christopher is miles beyond previous Ruby Suns records—a high-fi, meta-disco, headphonic roller-skating jam for lovers written and recorded over the course of several years, several world tours and several…