red lights

Concert Livewire
basement tapes concert reviews cd reviews interviewsticket swap music news

The New Pornographers
turn down the voltage
of their sunny, power-pop
for fifth release

The New Pornographers - Together
(Matador Records)
3 (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 16, 2010
The New Pornographers

Review by Tony Bonyata

On The New Pornographers' fifth studio effort, Together, the Canadian collective continue to effortlessly churn out the ridiculously catchy pop songs that've made them a household name... well, at least in those homes that inhabit lovers of melodic indie rock and modern day power- pop. But as pleasing as many of the tracks are, this album may, in fact, be the band's least satisfying effort to date (which, by the way, is still better than a good majority of new music from their contemporaries).

Led by founding member and creative fountainhead A.C. Newman, the tunes that fill out this album are rich in sunny melodies, strong production values and sugary harmonies, courtesy of the band's secret weapon, singer/songwriter Neko Case, who - along with Newman, also contributes lead vocals on some of the tracks.

Call it maturity if you will, however, but over the years The New Pornographers seem to have - for better or worse - toned down some of the power and youthful exuberance from their perfectly executed first two power-pop albums (2000's Mass Romantic and 2003's Electric Version). Songs such as "My Shepherd" and "Valkyrie In The Roller Disco" are pretty enough ballads, but lack the spontaneity and fun of the band's best work. When they do turn up the heat a bit, however, on tracks like the pounding "Your Hands (Together)" or "A Bite Out Of My Bed" the songs themselves just aren't as strong as they could be. Thankfully, though, the sturdier pop gems such as the opening track "Moves," "Up In The Dark" with its beautifully dizzying harmonies, and the album's strongest track "Crash Years," shows that there's still a lot of creative ideas bouncing between these eight talented musicians (not to mention cameo appearances from the likes of Beirut's Zach Condon, St. Vincent's Annie Clark, Okkervil River's Will Sheff and members of The Dap-Kings).

Related articles:

The New Pornographers (Lollapalooza) - Festival review - Chicago, IL - Aug. 2006
Belle and Sebastian / The New Pornographers - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Mar. 2006
The New Pornographers - Electric Version - Album review
The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema - Album review
Jakob Dylan w/ Neko Case - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Apr. 2010
Neko Case (Lollapalooza) - Festival review - Chicago, IL - Aug. 2009
Neko Case - Concert review - Madison, WI - June 2005
Indigo Girls / Neko Case - Concert review - Chicago, IL - Feb. 2003
Neko Case - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Oct. 2002
Neko Case - Blacklisted - Album review

What Do You Think?



City & State:

e mail:

Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!

Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.

Return to CD Archives
Return to CD Reviews
Return to Menu