Volume 97, Issue 1
Thursday, May 22, 2003

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CD REVIEW:
The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers
Electric Version
Mint



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.

–Maggie Wrobel



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2002 THE GAZETTE