Posted by: outroversion | December 30, 2010

Album of the year: New Pornographers- Together

New PornographersTogether

The overwhelming reason for Fanfarlo becoming my 2009 album of the year was that I was listening to it one day and noticed I’d given each of the tracks 4 or 5 stars without even noticing, that’s how good it was.

Similarly New Pornographers’ newest album Together has found itself with all tracks rated either 3, 4 or 5 which in itself is rather impressive but amalgamated with discovering their vast back library, shooting up my once thought to be set in stone charts and the impossibly positive effect they’ve had on my year in unimaginable ways its hard to look much further.

They teased their devoted followers, of who there are a deservedly inconceivable amount, with two tracks in advance of their album. Your Hands (Together) which comes straight out of the blocks with Neko Case, Cathryn Calder and Carl Newman all singing the first verse in their own distinctive styles yet sounding like the most intentionally designed of choirs before splitting off and intersecting one another over sparring guitars with razor edged flourishes and galloping drums. It’s hard to imagine a comeback track that encompasses the magic of a band as well as this.

Together is one of Carl Newman’s efforts, typically string driven; melody before lyricism. That’s not to say that lyrically this isn’t excellent, it’s just that in an entirely comforting way, you come to expect it from him. This is why as a casual fan of them you can dip in and out and always expect quality and never be surprised by it and when you stand back and consider the talent this backwards super group has in its ranks it takes a brave man to declare himself ringleader but it’s a title that I just gave him that suits him well.

It’s difficult and foolhardy to write a review of a New Pornographers album and not take time out to analyse how Dan Bejar’s genius is holding up. Mostly his tracks are seen as diamonds among a dozen other diamonds and here his are just as polished and raw as ever without their light being dimmed or dazzling the others, fitting in perfectly without holding back. Many have declared Silver Jenny Dollar as his best track with the NP’s and, while a great track, is a needless statement that would be dismissive of some amazing past work. While that track is undoubtedly a brilliant few minutes, the second of his “solos” is If you can’t see my mirrors which isn’t amazing but is really good. Where Silver Jenny Dollar is harmonious and great live, (probably. DB hasn’t joined them in England this year), IYCSMM is the rawer end of his spectrum that is way more concerned with the abstract concepts and assimilation that he specialises in. Yet again, we’re glad he didn’t save these tracks for the Destroyer.

Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk is a stand out track on an album of giants. Mispronunciation of Byzantine aside (they’re Canadian so we’ll let them off) this track flows as well any, playing to their strengths as they do so well. This however, could be said of any other track on the album it’s the purity and instant familiarity of their well sculpted sound that makes them the powerhouse they’ve become over the past decade. Where some bands can get together and release anything knowing their fans will eat it up, the New Pornographers only need to get in a room together do what they do best and know their fans will love it.

Download: Sweet Talk, Silver Jenny Dollar, Together and Moves

Further Reading: THE New Pornographers

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