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Challengers

The New Pornographers

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iTunes Review

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

A Lesson in Pop

I'm sure many long-time New Pornographers fans won't enjoy this album as much as I have. It's different, it's mellow, and it's much more accessible - all of which have made for a great listening experience for me, but might not appeal to more hardcore indie fans. The songs here seem to be more personal this time around, and each has a warmer feeling than before, giving this album a more sincere feel. The mix of styles and instrumentation keeps things interesting, but it all ties together better than you would think an album with four singers could. Overall, it's nice to hear a band known for their creativity and unique style making songs that appeal to a wider audience without losing their flair. This album is the perfect combination of thoughtful vocals and beautiful pop melodies. Favorite Tracks: "My Rights Versus Yours", "Challengers", "Mutiny, I Promise You"

The Milder, Mellower Pornographers

This album is much less upbeat than Twin Cinema, which already had many more slow moments than their previous work. This is a good thing. What the New Pornographers have given us here is a set of tunes that generally abandons raucousness of the "Jessica Numbers", "Use It", and "Everything Off The Electric Version Except Maybe Laws Have Changed And All For Swinging You Around" variety. What it gives us more of is sudden, tight harmonies between Case and Newman (think "Traveling at godspeed...I have refused my call" and then listen to "My Rights Versus Yours") and nice acoustic guitars ala "These Are The Fables". The only real throwback to their pre-Twin Cinema, driving rock sound is "All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth", which is fun anyway. The album is certainly a grower, and it doesn't have any tracks that stand out immediately, like "Bleeding Heart Show" and "Sing Me Spanish Techno" did (although after a few listens you'll probably find yourself dwelling on the opening track, "Challengers", "Myriad Harbour", "Mutiny, I Promise You", and maybe a couple others) - but the key is that EVERY track is stronger than things like "Three Or Four", "Star Bodies", or the bizarrely popular "Bones Of An Idol". And that makes it a stronger album. We get to hear more of Neko alone, which is always a good thing. Bejar's influence is much more obvious on several tracks, especially Myriad Harbour, which is also always a good thing. Though Twin Cinema will always have a special place in our hearts, in a few months or so I may consider this my favorite of their albums. Highly, highly recommended.

Let's hear it for VARIETY !!!

I guess some listeners want to hear the same sound, beat, tempo, style, instruments, and song ect. over and over again...to each his own I guess....BORING...It takes TALENT as an artist to create VARIETY in their work. For those wanting the same old...well they did name it CHALLENGERS...maybe you should try it and expand....One of the Decades Best.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Alternative

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

The Vancouver indie rock supergroup the New Pornographers features 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...
Full Bio

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