The New Pornographers
For the New Pornographers to be more than the sum of its parts would be little short of a miracle, given how impressive the parts are. Primary songwriter A.C. Newman cut his teeth making sublime power-pop with Superconductor and Zumpano in the 1990s; art-rock poster-band Destroyer’s Dan Bejar provides an arch counterpoint to Newman’s soaring melodies; singer-keyboardist Katherine Calder fronted the band Immaculate Machine; bassist John Collins moonlights with The Evaporators and Destroyer; guitarist Todd Fancey has lent his talents to both alternative-rock giants Limblifter and TV show The Office; keyboardist Blaine Thurier is a cartoonist and filmmaker; and alt-country chanteuse Neko Case belts out harmonies and lead vocals (and that’s just a brief resume of the studio version of the band. There's no telling who will show up for the live shows).
Nonetheless, miracles do happen, and the music of The New Pornographers somehow manages to exceed all expectations, a body of work that stands with the best glam- and New Wave-influenced rock of the past half-century. Since the release of their debut album in 2000, The Pornos have garnered Juno awards and critical accolades, hit singles and spots on Rolling Stone’s “Best Albums” lists. Improbably catchy and surprisingly deep, the songs are at once cerebral and heartfelt, melodic and rocking, and the overall mood is one of celebration even while acknowledging the myriad sorrows of the world. But most importantly, their songs have wormed their way into our ears and taken up firm residence in our hearts and on our turntables. ¡Que milagro!