Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Canadian supergroup of Canadian supergroups

The New Pornographers
Twin Cinema
Matador (August 23, 2005)

Rhapsody Playlist:
Play the album

Bonus Playlist:
Parts of the New Pornographers

Starting out as a one-off almalgamation of Vancouver B.C. cult musicians, The New Pornographers outgrew their individual projects in popularity and have since become a full-fledged band. Twin Cinemas document this change more then 2003's Electric Version, with a tightness of musicianship and vocal harmonies that can only be accomplished with time and familiarity of members. Back are the principals: main songwriter Carl (A.C.) Newman, chanteuse Neko Case, and the under-appreciated songwriter Dan Bejar (Destroyer.)

For those looking for a NP 3.0 Power Pop masterpiece, you might be a little disappointed, but it certainly shouldn't disappoint. It's more of the same, which for the most part, is a welcome thing. Songs are not as straightforward (see the weird cyclical chorus of "Falling Through Your Clothes,") and thus may take some more listens. One thing I notice I'm loving is the drums ((courtesy of Kurt Dahle) more upfront (see "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras") and, at times, bigger guitars (see title track and "Use It.") Newman again is the workhorse here, writing 10 or the 13 songs, with the other three by Bejar. Newman's highlights include the title track, "Use It," (featuring the line "Two sips from the cup of human kindness and I'm shitfaced,") and the almost funky "Three or Four." My only complaint about Newman's songs is that he fails to utilize Case's other-worldly vocals on at least one of the more upbeat songs (ala "Letter to an Occupant,") instead using her to carry two of the slower numbers (the excellent "These Are the Fables," and "The Bones of an Idol.") Bejar's song have traditionally utilized Case's background prowess, and they do so here - their voices really compliment each other... especially on Bejar's highlight, "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras" (a sequel to Mass Romantic's "Jackie.") His solo stuff (Destroyer) can feel a little dark to the listener, so it's always entertaining to here how the NP's can add a bounce or two to his Bowie-esque style.

It's a welcome return, and if not the masterpiece some folks had hoped for, it's still it's pretty close to it, and one of the year's best releases (in a great year for releases.)

Bonus playlist contains highlights from the players that make up the NP juggernaut. Featuring Newman's Zumpano and solo power-pop, some Neko Case's alt-country beauties, Bejar's Bowie-esque Destroyer, and the 70s pop of Fancey.

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drake leLane said...

The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

* "Twin Cinema" - New Pornographers
* "The Bones of an Idol" - New Pornographers
* "Use It" - New Pornographers
* "The Bleeding Heart Show" - New Pornographers
* "Jackie, Dressed In Cobras" - New Pornographers
* "The Jessica Numbers" - New Pornographers
* "These Are the Fables" - New Pornographers
* "Sing Me Spanish Techno" - New Pornographers
* "Falling Through Your Clothes" - New Pornographers
* "Broken Breads" - New Pornographers
* "Three or Four" - New Pornographers
* "Star Bodies" - New Pornographers
* "Streets of Fire" - New Pornographers
* "Stacked Crooked" - New Pornographers

drake leLane said...

Parts of The New Pornographers

* "I Dig You" - Zumpano
* "Deep Red Bells" - Neko Case
* "Destroyer's the Temple" - Destroyer
* "Miracle Drug" - A.C. Newman
* "Carry Me" - Fancey
* "Cowhand" - The Sadies
* "The Sylvia Hotel" - Zumpano
* "The Chosen Few" - Destroyer
* "The Tigers Have Spoken" - Neko Case
* "On The Table" - A.C. Newman