The New Pornographers are one of the coolest things to emerge from Canada since maple syrup. The fifteen-year-old pioneers in the art of producing indie rock music have just released their new album – Brill Bruisers – labeled “a celebration album” by front man AC Newman.
Combining guitars, drums and vocals – ingredients generic to the genre – the album bursts with the expected geniality of any indie rock outfit, especially spiced up by the tinkles of what sounds like a small fairy with ADHD. The album’s title track – Brill Bruisers, sets the scene for the rest of the release. Opening with an anthemic chant reminiscent of the Beatles, the song is a vibrant summer’s day out on the beach carried by zesty acoustic guitars. Wide Eyes, Marching Orders and Born With a Sound follow a similar recipe. These quintessential indie rock reveries avoid the trap of sounding all too similar by the bands alternation of vocalists. Listeners are either graced with the soothing drawl of AC Newman such as in Wide Eyes, or the tantalisingly ethereal sounds of Kathryn Calder.
Champions of Red Wine is one of the more laid-back tracks on the album. Living up to its name – the song perfectly captures the mellowed mood of a night spent at home drinking red wine. It opens with an arty combination of synth dripping over an acoustic guitar – bubbling with a contained energy throughout the song that never quite explodes. Yet, this is no cause for complaint as it keeps attention focused on the remarkable vocals of Calder, intertwined with the vocals of Newman towards the end of the track. This vibe is carried through tracks such as Another Drug Deal of the Heart – a track that constitutes the perfect emotional lullaby. Calder’s sombre, almost melancholic vocals/lyrics are almost washed out by the pervasive chirps of an electric guitar ensuring listeners are not too overwhelmed with emotion.
Another Drug Deal of the Heart testifies The New Pornographers ability to create ingenious compositions of sound. Spidyr manages to take listeners on an exciting musical adventure, guided by the sultry voice of Newman, whose ability is emphasised by the songs initial lack of guitar harmony. Instead, Newman is supported by a synth wash of sounds that carry a mystique more mysterious than the spelling of the songs name. The synth fizzes with the anticipation of the songs perfectly timed climax; it’s spontaneous eruption into a triumphant sounding chorus of guitars and drums, completed by what can only really be described as artistic wails from Calder. Similarly, You Tell Me Where sees the New Pornographers experiment more heavily with blending synthesised sounds with acoustic instruments with an incredibly pleasant end result.
Songs such as Fantasy Fools and Dancehall Domine manage to carry the optimistic and overwhelmingly joyful energies of newer bands to the indie rock scene. This is another reason the New Pornographers new album demands a significant amount of credit.
In short, if you’re feeling slightly down, give Brill Bruisers a listen and if it doesn’t leave you feeling a little more ok – you must be listening to the wrong album.