The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers
Lisa Says checks out the latest longplayer from the Canadian act:
Have a look at the packaging. There you see something that reminds you of a typical North-American billboard, a somewhat Las-Vegian neon sign, advertising “The New Pornographers” in a simple, grey font which is covered by the tendrils of a fluorescent, curvy type that presents the new album’s title, “Brill Bruisers”.
This is an emblematic representation of the latest release of the Canadian music collective. The songs are highly energetic, but in their joyfulness still somewhat cold. The band has turned into an electric version of itself, with a lot of synth sounds and the keyboard in the foreground.
The repetitive, shrill retro-futuristic sounds are baroque, heavily ornamented with a lot of ooooohhhhhhhh and aaaaaahhhhhhh and bobadadooh and lalalalaiai – the album seems to consists mainly of backing vocals.
The first two songs have a rather negative immediacy, the album starts and it invades your ears with an over-presence. The first songs aren’t given enough space to develop, everything gets blurred in too many sounds. The arrangements turn out nervous, getting on the nerves – I don’t know why exactly, but it makes me think of Boney M on speed.
Untypical for The New Pornographers is the fourth title: It strangely reminds of Placebo, starting off with helicopter-guitars. “Backstairs” begins with weird robotic vocals, which don’t really fit the rest of the song. Finally, in “Marching Orders” they find an agreeable balance between their music and the synths. From there on, the album turns around and improves. Nice sing-along melodies meet attuned arrangements where the single voices don’t perish any more. For me, “Wide Eyes” is the strongest moment of the album, a warm, dreamy moment. A simple baseline is guiding the song, pearling tones are accompanied by a wide landscape of keyboard sounds.
In general: nothing new, nothing special, everything is a bit too much, a bit too bombastic, kitschy. And weirdly, this is an album that nearly sounds better on low-quality speakers. Just a hint.
Review by Lisa Says