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New Pornographers – Twin Cinema

By on Thursday, 12th January 2006 at 1:00 am

A key feature on many of the “best of 2005” lists that have been doing the rounds recently was The New Pornographers new album, released last August. Their third outing improves significantly on their previous two efforts, 2002’s Mass Romantic and 2003’s Electric Version, providing a nice dollop of Canadian power-pop to add extra power to Canada’s exploding music scene.

Album opener “Twin Cinema” sets the theme for the rest of the album, being a good power-pop, with a memorable hook of “they’ve shown this on both screens”, and whilst not the best track of the album, is a quality song that is a great overview of the album: better put together than their 2003 effort, and musically a significant step on from their 2002 effort.

“Sing Me Spanish Techno” is quite possibly one of the most pop-tastic songs that A.C. Newman has crafted over the last three albums, and could propel the band into bigger and better things if they had more airplay. Combined with “Use It”, these are songs that are more pop-focussed than the Arcade Fire’s Funeral ever could be (exception is Rebellion (Lies)), and have a memorable catch, whilst being better musically and more original than the latest Kelly Clarkson / Girls Aloud offering. The lyrical insight of “Use it” is particularly interesting – “Two sips from the cup of human kindness and I’m shitfaced”, which whilst not radio-friendly, is more interesting than another “I love you” ballad, and combined with the frantic drumming that must have taken eight arms, is quite an amazing track.

“The Bleeding Heart Show” is one of music’s best kept secrets, a monster epic crammed into 4 and a half minutes of condensed drama and choir-sing alongs: the perfect show closers: a slow starter that builds momentum to the point you can imagine the theatres start crumbling under the strain of people jumping so much. The crescendo is reached at 2:40, when the Isicathamiya choir kick in, and coupled with Neko Case’s beautiful voice that is both unique and strong.

Pen-ultimate track, “Streets of Fire” is perfect for a late night camp-fire sing-along, with Neko’s voice complementing A.C. Newman’s fragile voice. It’s a beautiful track, almost a cast sing-along in a good family film.

The closer, “Stacked Crooked” is everything an album closer should be – a mellower track to the rest, but sends the listener off with a nice overview of the sound of the album, memorable and foot-tappingly good.

This album is, for me, one of the best albums of the last year, every track a winner, without a rubbish one or a bit of “filler”. All I can say is that I look forward to their next effort – this album hasn’t got anywhere near the recognition it should have done in my opinion, and if their next effort is better yet, it’ll be criminal. Go and buy it.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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