Monday, June 7th, 2010
We End Up Together
Review of The New Pornographers’ Together and giveaway
Jason CrepsThe first thing you notice about The New Pornographers’ latest album Together is the unison electric guitar and cello line that opens the first track, “Moves”. The second thing you notice is that you probably didn’t notice it at all. The band who first burst onto the scene at the turn of the century with the giddily live wire Mass Romantic transformed themselves from power-pop to orch-pop over the course of their five albums in the past decade that the strings and orchestral flourishes that permeate Together don’t seem at all out of place whereas they’d have had trouble finding the space to be heard amidst the cranked electric guitars and keyboards of their debut.
But sophisticated sonic accouterments aside, Together is still arguably their liveliest record since Electric Version, successfully recovering from the rather staid Challengers. Taken in the context of their career arc, that last record can now be regarded as more of a transitional record which tried to move away from the hepped-up pop of their earlier records and pulled a little too far in the other direction. Together strikes a much more comfortable balance, balancing the likes of “Your Hands (Together)”‘s amplified rock with the more stately pace of “Valkyrie In The Roller Disco”. Having noted those differences, it’s also important to note that which remains the same as on all other New Pornographer records – Carl Newman’s unerring ear for melody, Neko Case’s wonderful vocals and Dan Bejar’s requisite two wildcard songs though his contributions this time around are possibly his most straightforward compositions ever – still the highlights, but also a solid reminder that the world needs a new Destroyer record sooner rather than later.
Carl Newman has been quoted as saying that he knew that Challengers was going to be the band’s “backlash record”, even before it was out – maybe that’s why he made a record so worthy of backlash, so those of us disappointed wouldn’t have to work so hard to find reasons to feel that way. The good news is that the backlash has passed and with Together, The New Pornographers have made their rebound record.
The New Pornographers are currently on a cross-Canada tour – with the full band – and will be at the Sound Academy in Toronto for an all-ages show on June 15 with The Dodos and The Dutchess & The Duke. Tickets are $28 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I have two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want some New Pornography” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, June 11. And yes, I will check through my spam filter for entries, just in case.
Forest City Lovers have announced a full mostly Canadian tour (there’s one Chicago date) for the month of July to mark the June 29 release of their third album Carriage. After they return from out west, they’ll play a homecoming release show on August 12 at The Great Hall accompanied by Gentleman Reg and Carmen Elle, preceded by an August 10 in-store at Soundscapes. They’re also playing the LEAF celebrations at Wychwood Barns on June 11.
The Toronto Star examines the low-key appeal of Shad, who is also featured by The Gauntlet, The Leader-Post and The Times-Colonist. He plays the Opera House on June 12; passes to the show are up for grabs.
In town for two intimate nights at The Drake Underground this coming Friday and Saturday, Robyn Hitchcock has added an in-store at Sonic Boom on June 12 at 4PM to his itinerary. It goes without saying that this is going to be worth seeing.
Though Bono’s bad back has forced Interpol to cancel their dates opening up for U2, they’ve still given their fans something to get excited about by announcing that their fourth album would be self-titled and out in mid-September and the replacement for departed bassist Carlos Dengler would be former Slint guitarist (and hired gun for too many acts to name) David Pajo.
Video: Tift Merritt – “Mixtape”