Friday, September 19, 2014


I figure every album by The New Pornographers is a bonus.  The ad-hoc semi-supergroup could have easily been a one-off, and certainly its the type of collective that flames out after a great first album and a lame second (lookin' at you, Wilburys).  But no, every album is a blessing, and now that the band has six of them since 2000, I guess we can figure the members are committed.  Given that Carl Newman gets a lot more attention for these sets than his (excellent) solo discs, it's a good bet he's going to keep trying hard, same with Destroyer's Dan Bejar, the other writer involved.

There's even a nice, big old tour this fall, although a crack has happened in the ranks since the album came out at the end of August.  Drummer Kurt Dahle has split, and that's a shame, as his powerhouse percussion is one of the driving forces on the album.  He's the kind of player you can concentrate on, picking out great individual performances within the whole.  His work on Brill Bruisers is the source of much of the energy.  As usual, this is an aural delight, music infused with a ton of motivation, an antidote to crabbiness.  Newman delights in pop arrangements, and creates such great parts for himself, Neko Case and the rest.  Hearing his stunning and fun tracks, such as Champions Of Red Wine, with 70's synth lines and ELO effects, and Case just as smooth as can be on the verses, is such a pleasure, as they are just so joyous.  Bejar does himself proud as well on this three cuts, including the lead single, War On The East Coast, with a little more edge and some subtle Joy Division moments in there.  But it's still plenty poppy, with Dahle's dynamite pounding and more synth.  It's quite breathless at the end.  So thanks again gang, I know you have other things to do, but your continued work is greatly appreciated.

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