The New Pornographers - Together

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2010-05-03

Fair play to The New Pornographers, in a world where bands rely heavily on one instrument - or stand around not even playing their instruments - they have eight band members and a plethora of instruments ranging from banjos to saxophones. Their fifth album Together sees them carve out more impressive power pop tunes.

They continue to weave sweet melodies and joyous instrumentation in ways you would think wouldn't work seeing them on paper such as the way distorted guitars so often meet the weeping violins, or an airy, funky guitar is picked over swathes of keyboard synth. This is the kind of album and band you can easily dismiss as a flash in the pan, but the truth is they've been around for quite some time now, and when you hear the melancholy of 'Valkyrie In The Roller Disco' or the storming 'Your Hands (Together)' you'll feel ashamed for not taking them seriously.

The vocal duties are shared, which keeps things fresh but manages to still retain a unified effort within the lyrics themselves. "Come on be the one, do your worst" is the kind of line which will hit you in the gut. But that guttural assault so familiar from their 2007 album Challengers is thinner on the ground this time.

More effort has been plunged into the weaving of instruments here, which yields rewards but sacrifices that little spark leaving some songs slightly flat and not quite as interesting and enticing as they could be. It prevents this album from being the breakout record which they sound capable of making. In this day and age however, you won't find a more varied clutch of songs with a natural song-writing instinct or a genuine love for the craft.

Nathan Fidler

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