Sunday, September 21, 2014

The New Pornographers
Brill Bruisers

The Pornographers at their most pop, with a hint of electronica for a modern touch, an ELO feel, with some of Sigue Sigue Sputnik ‘s Love Missile F11, and the Xanadu soundtrack for sweetness.

Pop in TNP’s case means their second album Electric Version, my favorite TNP album. Pop as opposed to the rock of Twin Cinema or Mass Romantic.  There are too many synths for that, and not as heavy as the latter two albums.

But BB isn’t lightweight by any means. Carl Newman has said in interviews that he was at a happy, contented place in his life, and he wanted BB to reflect that. And that is evident here, no matter who’s singing, or Dan’s Bejar quirkiness.  Neko Case and Kathryn Calder take star turns, especially Neko on Champions of Red Wine and Kathryn on Dancehall Domine, both very upbeat tracks.

At the end things turn poigant. You Tell Me Where is a tribute to Scott Miller, who was a big influence on Newman. I’ve thought for a long time that if anyone could take up where Scott left off, it would be Newman, and here he proves it. This track is very Scott-like, as we Miller fans would say, with Neko and Kathryn channeling Donnette Thayer, and Alison Levy, from Game Theory and the Loud Family respectively, while still sounding like themselves. The music is a combination of both GT and LF, making for a very heartfelt tribute.

Is this the album of the year?  With so many others in contention, like St Vincent and Spoon, time will tell, but my money’s on TNP.

Andrea Weiss


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