The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers

new pornThe New Pornographers
Brill Bruisers
(Matador Records)

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The New Pornographers have always been something of an anomaly. They’re a supergroup that is not overshadowed by individual members, they manage to put out a record every few years in spite of other projects, and they sound tighter than bands who work together constantly. Brill Bruisers, the group’s sixth LP, feels like their tightest, most confident release to date.

“It’s all we know now to never go back,” Carl Newman sings on the title track. From here on out, Brill Bruisers has a sense of pushing forward while embracing elements of vintage pop rock. “Champions of Red Wine” features a dreamy synth line and is the perfect soundtrack to late summer romance. Daniel Bejar’s delightfully strange “War on the East Coast” sounds like mad word association, but the music is a perfect clash of structured rock and erratic indie pop.

Brill Bruisers contains a few surprises, even from a band with such an established career. “Another Drug Deal of the Heart” feels like it was ripped from ’80s radio, but the song maintains its charm with the extended metaphor about an illicit relationship. The swoony “Wide Eyes” may sound soft and simple, but the lyrics capture carrying on if only because you have faith in another person. “Dancehall Domine” is wonderfully weird, begging to be a jukebox classic for dancing alone.

The New Pornographers have always made pop for everyone, not just the young and the beautiful. Brill Bruisers is an album that snatches attention from the traditional radio scene, like a formerly shy person throwing off self-consciousness in favor of just having fun. Listen and be joyful.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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