[sic] Magazine

The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers

Sometimes another album by an enduring band, released with little fanfare, is more than enough to reinvigorate my interest in new music. The New Pornographers’ new album Brill Bruisers is heartening because it doesn’t try and be anything other than an enjoyable collection of power-pop songs. To be honest I haven’t paid much attention to what they’ve been up to since their superb first and second albums Mass Romantic (2000) and Electric Version (2003). Back then, the combination of joyous vocal harmonies and breezy guitar crunch was the perfect car-ride soundtrack; my old workmate Rich and I would blast their albums while we buzzed around Gloucestershire, playing the best songs over and over again.

More than 10 years on and a few more albums under their belt, the Pornos wield a bigger sound and shinier production, boasting more of a glam-rock thrust to their sound, with their songwriting as strong as ever. The A.C. Newman-sung title track has one of the band’s finest wordless vocal hooks since ‘Letter From An Occupant’, the other main songwriters turn in decent tunes – particularly Neko Case’s ‘Champions of Red Wine’ and Dan Bejar’s ‘Born With A Sound’ – and with 13 songs packed into 45 minutes, it’s brimming with plenty to enjoy.

The flipside is that little feels at stake. Once the hooks become familiar and the melodies are reliably playing in your head between listens, return visits yield fewer surprises and the major-key guitar chug starts to wear thin. And can anyone honestly remember what Pornos’ lyrics are about, even after numerous spins?!

Nevertheless, as one of the finer no-nonsense indulgences in indie-rock, the New Pornographers give you plenty to get buzzed about if you like your tunes bright, catchy and melodically smart. They’ll no doubt be along with another good ’un in a few years.

~Brill Bruisers is released August 25th 2014 via Matador.~