Canadian indie rockers The New Pornographers formed in Vancouver in 1999 and have since been perfecting their special pop rock sound. They’re releasing their sixth album Bill Bruisers out on 26th August 2014 out on Matador records. A bit of a super group, The New Pornographers band members are all involved in numerous bands or solo projects (or used to be) including Dan Bejar of Destroyer, Neko Case of Cub and John Collins of The Evaporators.
The thirteen-track album opens with title track “Bill Bruisers” a blasting rock anthem full of harmonious chants and with Carl Newman on vocals, which sets the tone for the album. “Champions of Red Wine” brings in synth but still keeps it classic indie rock at the heart of the track. “Fantasy Fools” is a high-energy tale of living in the clouds – “let’s begin the fantasy,” repeats out. “War on the East Coast” continues the dreamy feel but with an energetic drive and forceful drums; “Last night I dreamt Vancouver dressed up in the ocean, last night I dreamt Victoria drowned in the ocean, the ride of a lifetime”.
“Backstairs” opens with whispers of auto tune before kicking into a wistful sounding rock track. “Another Drug Deal Of The Heart” likens love to a drug deal “you can’t send it back” and is short but sweet. “Born With a Sound” is harder and sharper, the guitar and drums pulsing in unison with the lyrics to match; “I’ve been up all night, I’ve been up all day”. The song talks about the confusion of describing ideas of sounds, how words seem to evade their meaning – maybe describing the curse of the songwriter.
“Dancehall Domine” has the rhythms to match its name, whilst “Spidyr” brings back the talking-singing style, which gives it a very personal address – the track brings in the harmonica although the general feel is actually more edgy than that suggests. Closing track “You Tell Me Where” is as anthemic as the first, the chorus is catchy and the rhythms just as enticing. The New Pornographers have brought together the ideas of a lot of talented individuals, so Bill Bruisers is something that certainly sounds very like them, but with a little more experimentation going on.
Reviewed by Heather Welsh.