The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers (2014) review

September 7, 2014

The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers (2014) review

The New Pornographers “Brill Bruisers” (Matador,

I think the hardest albums to review are the ones that you
don’t really have any huge complaints about, but that don’t dazzle you. This is
where I am in attempting to write about this sixth long player from Canadian
power poppers The New Pornographers. I caught on to the band around the time of
their sophomore effort, 2003’s Electric Version. Wowed by their ridiculously
catchy hooks and inventive songwriting, not to mention the occasional lead
singing of Neko Case, I wore that record out, as I did with their 2000 debut
Mass Romantic. My appreciation of the band’s work hit its peak with their
release of 2005’s Twin Cinema. Head tunesmith Carl Newman was simply on his own
songwriting planet at the time of that album. It’s a brilliant record. For me,
the next two of the band’s albums fell comparatively flat. With 2007’s
Challengers and 2010’s Together, they seemed at times to be reaching for a more
layered, dense, complex approach, the hooks not as clear, the feel a bit
deeper. I’m all for bands reaching for new places with their stuff, but for my
tastes the songs on those two just didn’t hit home.
Brill Bruisers, for me, is somewhere between the brilliance
of the act’s first trio of albums and the muddied-ness of the last two. The
songs are there, at least in some instances. Case sounds sharp as ever in
tackling fare such as the clever and catchy “Champions of Red Wine.” There’s a
handful of other tracks on the record that are effective in that way. Yet none
of them affect me in the way pop monsters like “Letter From an Occupant,” “From
Blown Speakers,” “Sing Me Spanish Techno” from their earlier albums did,
though. None give me the feeling those did: that giddy reaction where you can’t
help yourself but play the song over and over and sing it in the shower and
tell your power pop-loving friends they need to stop what they’re doing right
now and listen to it. There’s another half of the songs on Brill Bruisers that
I feel don’t work at all. So my final summation on this one is: some good power
pop, some forgettable fare, and in the end a good album by a band that has done
and can do much better.

Review made by Brian Greene/2014

© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *