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The New Pornographers: Together [Digipak]

Track List

>Crash Years
>Your Hands (Together)
>Silver Jenny Dollar
>Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk
>My Shepherd
>If You Can't See My Mirrors
>Up in the Dark
>Valkyrie in the Roller Disco
>Bite Out of My Bed, A
>Daughters of Sorrow
>We End Up Together

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (p.68) - 3.5 stars out of 5 --- "[N]erdy AM gold with a mix of Anglophile harmonies, string parts and Hollies-ish meldoies....Ornate, idiosyncratic adn bittersweet all at once."

Alternative Press (p.108) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he collection shines when it goes for nuance and subtlety. Horn flourishes courtesy of the Dap-King and Beirut's Zach Condon brighten up songs..."

CMJ - "Newman continues to be a charismatic frontman. His effortless pop songwriting skills are immediately palpable on the album's first track, 'Moves'..."

Billboard (p.37) - "[T]he raucous guitars and thundering drums of lead single 'Your Hands (Together)' display the New Pornographers' ability to do just fine on their own."

Paste (magazine) (p.81) - "[T]he record is punchy, but it breathes easily with a kind of windows-open grace."

Pitchfork (Website) - "Newman has shifted his focus from urgent, high-velocity rave-ups to mid-tempo tunes with an ornate, cinematic grandeur."

Album Notes

Personnel: A.C. Newman (vocals, guitar, banjo, keyboards); Daniel Bejar (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, organ, vibraphone, percussion); Kathryn Calder (vocals, piano, keyboards); Kurt Dahle (vocals, drums, percussion); Neko Case (vocals); Todd Fancey (guitar, banjo); John Collins (acoustic guitar, keyboards); Tara Szczygielski (violin); Ben Kalb (cello); Neal Sugarman (flute, tenor saxophone); Cochemea Gastelum (baritone saxophone); Dave Guy (trumpet); The Dap-Kings (horns); Blaine Thurier (keyboards).

Audio Mixer: Phil Palazzolo.

Recording information: Dahle Haüs, Vancouver, B.C., Canada; Ephraim Studio, Brooklyn, NY; JC/DC, Vancouver, B.C., Canada; Little Blue, Woodstock, NY; Old Soul Studios, Catskill, NY; Seaside Lounge, Brooklyn, NY; The Factory, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Usually, the whole trick behind pop music is to appear effortless, but the New Pornographers turn that equation on its head, making it a habit of showing their work in every tune. So dense their songs, so labyrinthine their lyrics, they tend to inspire admiration, not slack-jawed wonder, but it's to the Canadian supergroup's great credit that the music never feels like an intellectual exercise: the hooks are there, they're just not immediate. Fortunately, Together -- the group's fifth album -- does feel immediate, a muscular riposte to 2007's inward-gazing Challengers; it's a record that sounds sinewy even when slathered with strings. When the cellos are really sawing away, as they are from the moment the record starts, the scale of the New Pornographers' ambition and melodic dedication often recall an ELO without ornamentation (or Jeff Lynne's enduring love of Jerry Lee Lewis boogie, for that matter), occasionally fronted by Robyn Hitchcock in the guise of Destroyer's Dan Bejar, whose flights of impenetrable fancy do not seem incongruous because A.C. Newman's songs are equally elusive. Which is why Neko Case is so crucial to the group's success: she's the blood that flows through the band, turning whimsy into something resembling reality without giving the listener pause, which is no small talent. And perhaps that's why this album is called Together: more than any other of the New Pornographers' albums, this feels like a group effort, each element united to create uniquely cerebral power pop. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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