Sep 5, 2007

Challengers-The New Pornographers

If you are part of a band that has produced 4 albums of exquisite taste and solid consistency with nary a bad tune appearing then you probably belong to The New Pornographers. This is perfectly understandable when said group combines the talents of A.C. Newman, Neko Case and Dan (Danny on the liner notes) Bejar. "Challengers" is their latest release and it is certainly an admirable addition to their remarkable catalogue. Full of the great wit and intelligence that is a feature of their work, it is also their most understated release yet with quite a few moments of languid beauty. I for one am glad of this, I think it shows a graceful maturity that provides more variety and ultimately, more listening pleasure.

If you seek typical Pornographers sound, skip straight to "All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth". It is full of great melodies, swirling keyboards and driving guitar, power pop at its best. "Mutiny, I Promise You" will probably give you the same rush. After that though there are various nooks and crannies to dive into and discover music that is both intelligent and utterly beautiful. The opening two tracks "My Rights Versus Yours" and "All The Old Showstoppers" are evidence of pop songsters producing mature songs that are a little more satisfying upon every listen. "Unguided" is a gorgeous ode by Carl Newman to New York City, his new home. Kathryn Calder shows off her fine voice on "Adventures In Solitude", a glorious song that gets better with every listen. Then there are the majestic talents of Dan Bejar on his 3 songs. He hasn't let the side down. "Myriad Harbour" is an absolute standout, whilst "Entering White Cecilia" and "The Spirit of Giving" would fit snugly onto any Destroyer album. But the absolute standouts are concerning the sublime talent that is Neko Case. The title track and "Go Places" are quite simply divine. They will melt in your mouth. You know the more I think about it, this is music that is incredibly satisfying. It is not trying to be trendy, it is a testament to the beauty and craft of song. It will reveal its beauty more and more upon every listen. Ultimately it is more mature and varied then any of their previous work. It might not give you an instant buzz, but its sweet tasting sounds will live inside you for a considerable time.

MP3: Myriad Harbour
MP3: My Rights Versus Yours

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