Friday, May 28, 2010

Album Review: The New Pornographers – Together

Man, it’s been a rough week. Not only do I have to admit to not being into Beach House (an oversight I have heartily fixed), but now I have to ‘fess up to my lack of devotion when it comes to The New Pornographers. I really don’t know how it happened. But year after year went by, and I just never gave the twang-lovin’ Canadians a chance. I come to you today, however, a convert. Their new record, Together, has shown me the light. Because, rather simply put, it’s nothing short of a masterpiece.

It’s a party on this here record, eh? With a sound that sounds a lot less country-rock than I expected, Together is a nothing short of a big ole beautiful beast of a rock record. The songs are luxuriously expansive, filled to the brim with epic sounds, though mercifully stopping short of over-the-top bombast. And naturally, I’m inclined to love any record that features the incomparable vocal talents of Miss Neko Case. But I suspect I’d love Together even without Neko’s vocal perfection. From the fabulous fragmentation of the instrumentation on opener “Moves”, I knew I was in for a treat. It, and a vast majority of the album, has this fabulous, broad sound. To me it sounds like bits and pieces of the wonderful noises made by bands like T. Rex, Roxy Music, and Slade, though missing some of that excessive decadence.

“Crash Years” I love because of the influence of Neko, though it’s pretty perfect on the whole. “There’s no other show like it ‘round here,” states Case, and she just about hit the nail on the head. “Your Hands (Together)” sounds more than a little like an early 80s stadium rock song, with all that ferociously grandiose guitar and strong vocals. And man alive, is that Bryan Ferry singing lead vocals on the sassy “Silver Jenny Dollar”? Yet another song on Together that I totally, utterly love. “A golden age is upon us,” croons Case in a painfully gorgeous vocal performance in the painfully gorgeous “My Shepherd”, a grownup lullaby fit for the heavens. Neko might well be singing about this record with that line, for it does indeed apply. “Valkyrie In The Roller Disco” is yet another class act, with just a little twang (courtesy of some delicately-played banjo) and a whole lot of raw emotion.

Let this be a lesson to you, my beloveds. It’s never too late to make up for past musical mistakes. Owning Together will most assuredly raise your musical stock, but more importantly it’ll make your day. Quite possibly your week. Guaranteed.

mp3: Silver Jenny Dollar (The New Pornographers from Together)

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