The title track of the New Pornographers' latest is a sugar-water tidal wave of "oohoohs," "ba-ba-ba-boos," synth twinkles and dub shimmers – a fitting opener for an LP whose name suggests pop artisans on steroids. Leader A.C. Newman claims this exuberant, synthpop-infused set is "a celebration record." But soon, cohort Dan Bejar is dreaming of a drowning woman in his world-weary Anglophile drawl on the Morrissey-esque apocalypse paean "War on the East Coast." And so goes another all-star indie-rock Pornos cage match, with Neko Case, per usual, nearly stealing the show ("Marching Orders"). Final score: a dark, frothy stalemate.
From The Archives Issue 1217: September 11, 2014