The New Pornographers "Brill Bruiser"

The super septet creates a barrage of high energy pop influenced by E.L.O. and Tangerine Dream.

A.C. Newman again leads his charges into battle against the doldrums of modern pop music, laying out a strategic plan to combat complacency with power pop melodies that fires with forceful precision. From the opening title track to the last and thirteenth song Brill Bruisers bristles and pulsates with unrelenting energy.

Newman wrote ten of the tracks, incorporating influences that range from punk to classic rock to electronica. These include Electric Light Orchestra, Tangerine Dream, Moody Blues, Gerry Rafferty, and the Pixies. Swirls of ambient production envelope songs that pulsate with staccato beats and truncated chords. Dan Bejar contributes three tracks; his songs feature more stripped down arrangements and harder edges.

The most unique aspect of The New Pornographers is the make-up of the band. Each of the seven members has unique and separate careers and the group features four vocalists with very distinct approaches to singing style. This allows for disparate sounds from song to song. Newman’s vocals convey a caustic edge that match his lyrics. Bejar’s approach is more flat-edged and direct. Kathryn Calder is more of a crooner than her counter-parts. Neko Case lends her haunted, ethereal voice to songs that might feel more external without her introspective style. The result of this idiosyncratic mash-up is songs that are delightfully unpredictable and stimulating, particularly on tracks that feature more than one singer.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)