Monday, April 17, 2017


The New Pornographers
Whiteout Conditions
Collected Works

Everything's different now. The Pornographers have their own label, Collected Works, Dan Bejar is off doing his own thing, and their new sound, starting with 2014’s Brill Bruisers and now going off in many other directions, is unlike anything they’ve ever done. It’s also the best album they’ve made yet, better even than Mass Romantic.

Carl Newman has been saying “Krautrock bubblegum” in interviews to describe this new sound, and while I’ll take his word for it, I also hear the best updating of the late Scott Miller ever, as all of these songs could have come from Scott’s band Game Theory, especially 1984’s Real Nighttime. TNP had already paid tribute to Scott with You Take Me Where on Brill Bruisers. Here they double down on that.

The melodies are to die for. I love the synths, aided and abetted by Todd Fancy’s understated guitar, and not as understated new drummer Joe Seiders. Neko Case has never sounded better. Ditto for Kathryn Calder, touring member Simi Sernaker, and Seiders. Carl sounds great too. All join together for great harmonies, and check out Neko’s and Carl’s duet on the shimmering We’ve been Here Before.

Carl’s lyrics are so open-ended that beyond High Ticket Attractions being about Trump-induced panic, written before the election, and the title song being about depression, they’re anything you want them to be about. My take on them: music therapy for terrific and strange situations, wild and wonderful relationships. Between the great lyrics, fantastic new sound, and yes, maybe Dan will be back someday, as I say, this is their best yet. May it continue.
Andrea Weiss

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive