The New Pornographers
As much as the members of Canada’s New Pornographers might loathe the “supergroup” title, it seems ludicrous to describe a band with a cumulative musical résumé that could fill its own album-rack as anything less. The band combines the talents of eight veteran rockers, most notably solo artists Neko Case and chief songwriter A.C. Newman, along with Dan Bejar of Swan Lake and Destroyer. The third album is filled with all the twists and thrills of the band’s debut, Mass Romantic, but is clearly following more along the lines of 2005’s Twin Cinema, taking a calculated and melancholy approach to the jumpy, yet poetic lyrics. “My Rights Versus Yours” isn’t bad but it lacks the convoluted lyrical quality of the title track, which exudes a degree of warm-fuzzies that can only resonate from Case’s somber, powerful vocals. Challengers is in classic New Pornographers style with a complex, multidimensional sound created by a cornucopia of instruments. There are plenty of strings and harmonica (even a glockenspiel makes an appearance), and piano and percussion weigh in for balance. It would be hard to describe Challengers without using the word the band seems so eager to shirk: super.