Together, the sixth recording by The New Pornographers, provides a ton of delight on a bunch of levels. Although the 2010 competition all-of-a-sudden stiffened for pop pleasure listening time on my iPod, this winning record won out. I’ll sort it out at the end of the year. I’m sure Together will still be there.
AC, Neko and gang have put their fans on a bit of a roller coaster. Twin Cinemas, one of the decade’s great bursts of pop power was followed by Challengers, in which singer Neko Case and a lot of focus was, as it were, lost in the mix.
Yet it would be unfair to view the new record as a return to form. It is, yet it’s also the band’s most expansive and confident and playful outing so far. The np’s are, without any doubt, current pop’s best musical anthropologists. Their area of expertise is seventies/eighties radio pop, and, their updated sonic recombinations of Crowded House, Roxy Music, XTC, Squeeze, Bowie, Yes, Bangles, and much more, earns highest honors on this zero-dull moments record. (Tune-in-point: Move, the opener is about as close a cop of Todd Rundgren as one could imagine.) The band’s nostalgia trip here is squared with enough originality and distinction to set their sound apart from much of the backward-looking competition.
I think it’s their best so far.