The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions

by paul_guyet Rating:8 Release Date:2017-04-07

Usually, for me, New Pornographers albums break down as such: 

  1. Neko Case is the gem that sets them apart from every other Brooklyn indie/folk/choral art band*
  2. I can barely tolerate/not tolerate at all the handful of songs that feature Dan Bejar on lead vocals
  3. Three or four tracks are good enough to make it into my New Pornographers playlist
  4. One or two tracks are truly sublime and make me cry every time I hear them
Things are different this time around. First and foremost, there is no Dan Bejar, which (sorry Mr. Bejar) immediately makes Whiteout Conditions a winner for me. Next, there is no “perfect song”, but rather a whole batch of really good songs with a few fantastic songs tossed in, which raises the overall feel from a good album to a great album. And finally, I must discuss the speed. In the run up to the release of Whiteout Conditions, lead singer A.C. Newman kept talking about the speed of things and how, after 2014’s Brill Bruisers, the band planned to make an even faster record. They have succeeded, the result being a tight forty two minutes that are always moving forward, driving the listener toward the closer, ‘Avalanche Alley’, after which one simply must restart the record; it cannot be allowed to end. There’s also a lot of cool (temperature-wise) synths and programming on this, which give it a nice, light, glittery feel and don’t let things get too staccato, which could have been grating. That aspect paired with the unflagging pace of the whole thing combine to make something singular in their catalog, perhaps their best effort since 2007’s Challengers.
Standouts include the title track and ‘High Ticket Attractions’, catchy, upbeat sing-a-longs about depression and the end of the world due to global warming, respectively, ‘Second Sleep’, and the soaring ‘Clockwise’.
While Whiteout Conditions didn’t fit my usual criteria for a New Pornographers album, the whole thing glimmers and skitters along at a tooth-rattling pace, imbuing everything with an energy not found in any one place in their repertoire.
I’d also like to wish Dan Bejar all the best with his continuing solo career.
*Of which there are, literally, over 400,000.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars
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