Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The New Pornographers – The Crash Years

We were gonna just have a photo of Neko Case here, but that professionalism for which we have become so famous got the better of us…


Martin Skidmore: I can’t imagine many people listened to Neko Case’s exceptional best recordings and thought she’d be better in some lightweight Canadian indie rock supergroup, and indeed she isn’t. This seems to wash all of the feeling out of her voice, and we are left with something very ordinary, with fussy and tepid backing. What a waste.

Katherine St Asaph: Between Neko Case and the cello, this is plenty robust enough to work. The hints of ABBA in the chorus don’t hurt. Neither do the whistled parts, although I suppose if you’re going to take exception to something, those would be it.

Chuck Eddy: Still don’t get why people think Neko Case is a great singer; still don’t get why people think this is a great pop-rock band. Maybe because they manage to sound simultaneously fussy and sloppy?

Matt Cibula: Lots of nice signifiers (wow a whistling homage to “Games Without Frontiers”?), but nothing signified. Also: too cutesy by more than half.

Michaelangelo Matos: I may be underrating this slightly, but only because I suspect it still has room to grow on me. The cello (I think) playing the central riff rather than the guitar gives the arrangement a melancholy cast that belies its brisk tempo and Neko’s crisp vocal. Plus whistling that isn’t unbearably twee.

Jonathan Bogart: The rating is as much a predictor of where this will settle in my affections as it is a gauge of how I feel about it now. Hearing it back-to-back with the day’s other singles made it sound mannered and precious; hearing it in the middle of a mix I’d listen to by choice makes it sound like a giddy splash of quirky guitar-pop. Not the trying-too-hard “quirky” of which indie pop is too often guilty, just a song that happens to hit unusual accents on the rhythms and maybe sped Neko’s vocals up again.

Alfred Soto: All the pleasures here – whistling, crunchy rhythm strum against strings – are strictly formal, which is usually the case with this act when Neko Case isn’t singing, except more so now. What surprises me is how wan Neko sounds. Granted, she’s the only one in North America who can bait a line like “traffic was slow in the crash years” with enough subtext to entice critics into praising the New Pornos for describing life during a recession. But the sparkly thud of this number strains her powers.

Al Shipley: Nice try, but Butch Walker already made the best ELO pastiche of 2010.

Pete Baran: Is this the great lost mimsy Fleetwood Mac single missing from Tusk? You know what, I think it is. Well done band with rubbish name.

Ian Mathers: I loved Challengers a lot, more than most, but this is not making me excited about the new one. It’s a perfectly good song, but there’s no zest to it. They continue to rely on Neko Case too much.

6 Responses to “The New Pornographers – The Crash Years”

  1. This is not even close to being as ELO as the album’s last track, “We All End Up Together,” FYI.

  2. Wow, aren’t we proud of our vocabulary. You write about these songs as though the writers proclaimed “this is an important piece of art, and you will treat it as such”. I would love to see you attack “I want to hold your hand”.
    From the unaccompanied opening line “close your eyes and I’ll kiss you”, it’s obvious we’re going to have to suffer yet another round of hamfisted faux-sentimentality out of upstart John Lennon’s prefab four.
    Sure, there’s a hook, but “I want to hold your hand?”. You’re ostensibly a rock star, it’s likely you want much much more than that, but are afraid to take that step that might enrage the matriarch of any of your teen fans household. There’s a glimmer of hope in the construct, but until they stop plagarzing notes passed in a Dorking middle-school for lyrical content, I fear this band needs Help. For now, in this reviewers opinion (expressed as verifiable fact) these guys are nowhere , man.

    -fuck you for killing fun.
    Good day.

  3. Note** oops! it’s Paul McCartney , but i don’t have time for fact-checking, I’ve got to get my opinion published. After all, It’s about my writing, not the songs.

  4. I feel as if these days, they give Neko the dullest songs as an attempt to raise them a little, whereas on the first two albums, she got given the pick of the songs (or parts thereof) like “The Laws Have Changed” and “Letter From An Occupant”.

  5. Wow…what a bunch of cranky bitches. Lighten up!
    Great tune. Great vocalist. Great band. Great band name.

  6. I guess now that I’ve finally killed fun I can retire, my dreams fulfilled.