Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The New Pornographers: Together

This Canadian supergroup (with, uhh, a unique name) put out one of 2007's best albums (top 20, at least), so I was pretty pumped about their latest release back in early May.  However, I ended up being a little underwhelmed.

Together starts off with much promise, and the first three songs have that classic TNP feel.  Pretty upbeat (read: poppy) compared to the first third of Challengers.  "Moves," "The Crash Years," and "Your Hands (Together)" are all fantastic.  The rest of the album, for the most part, doesn't seem to match the pace or the quality of the songs at the album's outset (with the exception of "Up in the Dark").  As with previous albums, I'm not a fan of the songs on which Dan Bejar (of Destroyer) sings ("Silver Jenny Dollar," "If You Can't See My Mirrors").  His voice just kills me.

The slower songs on Together don't seem to carry the lyrical weight that songs on Challengers did ("Challengers," "Go Places").  And I don't seem to hear all the guest stars here, either (Zach Condon from Beirut, Annie Clark of St. Vincent, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, and the horn section from Sharon Jones' Dap Kings).  I love/like all those guest stars, but I wouldn't have known they were even on the album unless I had read it in the pre-release press.  If you're going to let Dan Bejar sing, please let me hear the vocals of Condon and Clark!

Even the videos from Together don't match up to their previous efforts:

Grade: B-
Blurb: Better than Twin Cinema, not as good as Challengers.

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