The New Pornographers, Together (Matador Records, 2010)

With their quirky power-pop style, The New Pornographers were one of the most intriguing bands of the last decade. Comprised of an all-star selection from the Vancouver indie scene of the late 90's, the octet feature a top-notch singer/songwriter in A. C. Newman, and as good a backup/change-of-pace vocalist as you're ever going to find in Neko Case. They brought their music into the new decade this past May with the release of their fifth album Together.

Together follows a similar format to the previous New Pornographers albums. Newman writes the bulk of the songs, singing lead a bit more than half the time and giving several songs to Case. Dan Bejar writes and sings two or three songs on each album as well. Other than the addition of keyboardist/vocalist Kathryn Calder during the tour for their 2005 album Twin Cinema, the supporting cast of Blaine Thurier (keyboards), John Collins (bass), Todd Fancey (guitar), and Kurt Dahle (drums) has remained constant since the beginning. The band's sound hasn't changed much over the years, featuring catchy guitar rock with cerebral lyrics. I think the predictability has hurt the band somewhat on their recent albums, but there are some good songs on Together regardless. My favorite song on the new album is a particularly energetic rocker called "Your Hands (Together)." "Up in the Dark" and "We End Up Together" are strong upbeat tracks as well, and the curiously title "Valkyrie in the Roller Disco" is a good ballad as well.

While I wouldn't recommend Together as highly as I would Twin Cinema, there is enough quality on the new record to justify the purchase. The New Pornographers have built up an impressive catalog of songs over the past ten years, and they do not appear to be done just yet.

Overall grade: B+

reviewed by Scott

"Your Hands (Together)"

No comments: