The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers

The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers

Matador [USA]; 2014 (Pop, Indie)

Rating: B +

Talented songwriters Dan Bejar (A.K.A Destroyer), Neko Case, A.C. Newman and Katheryn Calder join forces and together The New Pornographers make mature, saccharine, power pop. There isn't much more you need to say about this star-studded Vancouver band. Before even listening to Brill Bruisers, I could hear the polished, well-schooled sound of pure accomplishment the group has come to represent.

14 years ago The New Pornographers were a welcomed breath of fresh air, but familiarity, sadly, sometimes breeds contempt. Just because you're a talented band and make good music doesn't always mean you fit the quota of “what songs people crave right now.”

In the early 2000s, bands such as Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes and Iron & Wine dominated the alternative scene. Embraced for their lyric smart, sensitive pop, and soft, melodic edge, The New Pornographers don't veer far from that description, despite the fact they are a lot less melancholy and instead their music seems to be dripping with joy and cheer.

Lead single, title track and opener “Brill Bruisers” is a blast of good vibes, with its “bababas” and “woos.” Their energy is undeniably contagious. Other highlights include, synth ballad “Champions of Red Wine” and the chuggy “Born With a Sound.”

Then there are songs like “Marching Orders,” with it's swirling, parade of synths and “Spydr” with it's well thought out structure, that somehow manage to come off as bland and predictable. “Wide Eyes” is the perfect example of the band just going through the motions.

The New Pornographers are a good band, and that will probably never change. Their songs are good, and some are great. But it seems they're starting to make albums that are good in the worst way possible. Kind of like how ready salted chips are always sort of good. Brill Bruisers is good, in that kind of way.
This article first appeared in Issue 22, 2014.
Posted 11:52pm Sunday 7th September 2014 by Adrian Ng.