The New Pornographers - Together
It’s always nice to listen to an album and feel that the band in question really did enjoy recording it. An album so lovingly put together that it can’t help but put a big fat grin on your face. The New Pornographers seem to have done just this with their latest full-length Together, an album that revels in its ‘togetherness’ and the collective joy of the eight members they comprise.
Main song-writer Carl Newman clearly has a knack for writing sweet, powerful pop music, but with the kind of diverse instrumentation that keeps everything interesting. Opening track ‘The Moves’ is a case in point, opening up with distorted electric violin, grandiose guitars and some lovely vocals. Things continue in much the same way with ‘The Crash Years’, a song that showcases the brilliant vocals of Neko Case and some rather nifty whistling.
These songs bring the same sort of grand happiness that made The Polyphonic Spree’s second album so enjoyable. They share that taste for cramming as many different sounds into one song, but with arena-rock sheen. Something no more evident than on first-single ‘Your Hands (Together)’, its classic rock guitars giving it a thrilling edge. The slightly bluesy and emotional ‘Daughters of Sorrow’ takes in horns, fuzzed-up six-string and gliding vocal harmonies, while ‘If You Can’t See My Mirrors’ has a slight touch of The Shins to it.
An album that takes in guest appearances from Zach Condon from Beirut, Will Sheff from Okkervil River, and St. Vincent, Together is a triumph of a collective and intense appreciation of good pop music. Powerful and immediate, this could be their best album since Electric Version.