The New Pornographers are catchy, but not TOO catchy. - Oh My Rockness

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The New Pornographers are catchy, but not TOO catchy.

June 16, 2005
A few years ago, I drove up north on an empty, open road towards the Pop Montreal Festival. It was autumn. It was crisp. It was cloudless. It was the first time my iPod played The New Pornographers. Briefly (roughly 46 minutes), all was right and I almost forgot my big city troubles (rent, boss, stench). This is a band whose choruses you to listen to when you want to feel right, for cynics and smilers alike.

The New Pornographers are an insanely catchy and cohesive band (which partly explains why they are signed to Matador... they don't release garbage). They are Vancouver, Canada's feel-good group that rocks power POP complete with four-part harmonies and an abundance of high-spirited confidence. An indie rock supergroup of sorts that features a revolving cast of characters (band members at one time or another include Zumpano's Carl (A.C.) Newman, Thee Evaporators' John Collins, Destroyer's Dan Bejar, cartoonist/filmmaker Blaine Thurier, drummer Fisher Rose, guitarist Tom Fancey, drummer Kurt Dahle, and Neko Case... in their case, the sum is MUCH greater than its parts), The New Pornographers create a sound that's a little bit Beach Boys, a hint of The Shins, some Spoon, and a whole load of good feelings. It is Carl (A.C.) Newman who really describes their sound best. He has said The New Pornographers are "new wave bubblegum glam indie rock." Boom, for real.

What separates The New Pornographers from those other sunny fun bands is the sheer breadth of talent this sprawling collective brings to both studio and stage. Each member knows how to play well with others. And together, they make happy sound so many different ways and always avoid the rut of repetition, precisely because their members can play more than three chords. Yes, their melodies are syrupy and may be sugarcoated with sticky, sweet hooks, but that's not so bad, right? Their songs (and aforementioned harmonies) are complex enough to safely skirt the risk of inevitable annoyance.

The New Pornographers seem to know that handclaps and "la-la-las" are like martinis. One is not enough, and three is too many. Their well-textured songs fall somewhere in the middle, which is exactly where you, the listener, want to be (especially if you find yourself driving to Canada).

The New Pornographers play the early show at Bowery Ballroom, Thursday, September 15th.


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