Release Date: Aug 23, 2005
Record label: Matador
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Since all contributions are treated equally, the group doesn't have a distinctive personality or focal point outside of the tunefulness of the music itself. Which is not to say that the New Pornographers lack engaging singers -- Newman has a sweet everyman voice, perfect for power pop, and Neko Case is so gripping a singer that it's hard not to wish she took the lead more often -- but there's such an emphasis on never overemphasizing any specific member that the music winds up humble to a fault. Which is why the New Pornographers are more of an indie band than a power pop band: instead of trading in titanic hooks and glistening surfaces, they make deliberately small-scale, insular music that cuts its classicist nature with enigmatic, sometimes impenetrable lyrics and ragged performances.
The New Pornographers' greatest triumph is that they've managed to appeal consistently to this generation of indie-rock listeners despite its kneejerk distrust of most things enthusiastic, poppy, or otherwise fun. It wasn't entirely without merit that Vice Magazine recently characterized them as "blindingly white," but it's to their credit that they can win the allegiance of so many people (most of them presumably pretty white themselves) without making their records any more complex or less ham-fistedly full of good times. Ringleader A.C.