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Challengers (Bonus Track Version)

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Editors’ Notes

Like much of the indie-rock that precedes them, Vancouver’s New Pornographers approach pop music with a sense of unease. Though a shuffling collective of musicians with other musical day jobs – Neko Case has her solo career, Dan Bejar works with Destroyer, and so on – the band centers primarily on the songwriting of A.C. (Carl) Newman. Newman writes indelible hooks, but he obscures them with impenetrable lyrics and carefully dressed arrangements that provide for rewarding headphone listening when they don’t immediately jump out from the speakers. “My Rights Vs. Yours” pummels out of the gate with a bright welcoming disposition, “All The Things That Go To Make Heaven and Earth” fleshes out a garage rock band’s elemental jam and “Mutiny, I Promise You” recalls the fleeting optimism of the Association or Free Design channeled through a modern rock producer. But other tracks, such as “Myriad Harbour” and Entering White Cecilia” (both written by Bejar), work with ornate, layered textures and halting movements that combine male-female vocal lines with mild orchestration and unexpected turns of melody and atmosphere. Complex pop for thinking people.

Customer Reviews

Remarkably lush and fully realised

Often times, collectives are less than the sum of the parts. Not so with New Pornographers. Challengers is an album that recalls the best of Immaculate Machine, Destroyer, A.C. Newman, and, yes, even the much-missed Zumpano. Everyone in New Pornographers seems to have brought their best to the table on Challengers, and Carl Newman and Dan Bejar have risen to the challenge by providing some of the best songwriting of their already impressive cannons. The incomparable Neko Case is in specular voice, and wonderfully complemented by Kathryn Calder. Sonically, Challengers is probably the most fully realised of all of the New Pornographers catalogue to date - lush and detailed without being overbearing. Challengers might very well be the New Pornographers' "Pet Sounds".

They are back in style!

Each time I listen to it I find a new favorite song. All the little details I failed to notice the first times…


I bought the album at the end of summer, expecting a really great follow-up to "Twin Cinema", because I had previewed "My Rights Versus Yours" on the band's website. Overall, I thought the album was a little dissapointing, relative to the other New Pornies albums, that is. There are a few really great tracks, though. "My Rights Versus Yours" is so moving, it always gets me really excited. "Go Places" and "Unguided" are both really good vocals, but seem a little mainstream for the band. By far the best track on the album is "Myriad Harbour". THAT is what I expect from this band. Psychadelic and strange, it's such an interesting song to listen to. Overall, BUY THIS ALBUM. You'll be impressed and it's well worth the cash.


Formed: 1996 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Vancouver indie rock supergroup the New Pornographers feature the talents of Zumpano's Carl Newman, the Evaporators' John Collins, Destroyer's Dan Bejar, cartoonist/filmmaker Blaine Thurier, drummer Fisher Rose, and guest vocalist Neko Case. Newman began the band in 1996 as a lark after releasing Zumpano's Goin' Through Changes; one by one, the other members joined the fold, and the New Pornographers' first official rehearsal took place in 1997. By the following year, the group had completed...
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