Thursday, August 21, 2014

The New Pornographers: "Brill Bruisers" (album review)

For nearly a decade and a half The New Pornographers have been relied upon to give us sugary doses of indie guitar pop.  On their new album, Brill Bruisers (out August 26th), the group go a little further afield with their sound.

The first, and most out there, experiment is "Champions of Red Wine".  The electro-Neko structure of the song makes it sound much more like Stars than New Pornographers.

It seems as though the group was listening to a lot of '70s music while writing this album.  "Fantasy Fools" is the band's Fleetwood Mac moment, while "Backstairs" has a vaguely CSNY feel to the vocal harmonies.  The melodic "Wild Eyes" takes a laid back approach.

Thankfully, there are still a number of those catchy power pop tunes that endeared the band to us in the first place.  The title track is absolutely irresistible, "Dancehall Domine" and the hard-charging "War On the East Coast" aren't too far behind.  "Born With a Sound" goes back to the vocal back and forth that was behind many of The New Pornographers' best songs.

The sound gets stretched out on the masterfully-constructed "You Tell Me Where", which serves as a fitting anthem to go out on.

It's important for a band to evolve and freshen their sound.  However, in the case of New Pornographers I think it was pretty damn good the way it was.

The New Pornographers play Riot Fest in Toronto on September 7th.

Best tracks: "Brill Bruisers", "Wild Eyes"

Track listing for Brill Bruisers:
  • Brill Bruisers
  • Champions of Red Wine
  • Fantasy Fools
  • War On the East Coast
  • Backstairs
  • Marching Orders
  • Another Drug Deal of the Heart
  • Born With a Sound
  • Wild Eyes
  • Dancehall Domine
  • Spidyr
  • Hi-Rise
  • You Tell Me Where

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