The New Pornographers
It's said we get by with a little help from our friends. Vancouver rock
collective The New Pornographers take this saying straight to their little
rock 'n' roll hearts.
Along with the band's unofficial frontman Carl Newman, the band consists
of (among a cast of ever-changing others) alternative-country siren Neko
Case on lead vocals and Kurt Dahle on drums.
Electric Version, the band's sophomore effort after 2000's critically
lauded Mass Romantic, is an explosion of intelligent power-pop
that's so ridiculously catchy it's almost perverse. On the disc, the Canadian
supergroup channels a variety of influences, but never come off as imitators.
Instead, tracks like the sunny "The Laws Have Changed" and the
instant sing-along classic "All For Swinging You Around" evoke
memories of early Fleetwood Mac (before all that pesky "who's sleeping
with who" drama began).
In "Testament to Youth in Verse," Newman and Case wax poetically
on the shaky state of today's music scene, singing, "maybe it's not
alright." It may not be alright now, but if bands like The New Pornographers
have their way, clever pop music will regain the respect it once had in
the music world. With a couple of weak tracks at most, Electric Version
acts as a testament to how delicious pop music can be when it's cooked
up by the right group of people.