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The New Pornographers
ELECTRIC VERSION
(MATADOR)
Stars graphics

The New Pornographers are a supergroup drawn from the best of Vancouverís vibrant underground scene. None of its members, with the possible exception of alterna-country rocker Neko Case, has any name recognition outside Canada, but that turns out to be an advantage in that there donít appear to be any major ego battles at work on Electric Version, the bandís follow-up to their critically adored 2001 album Mass Romantic. The disc improves upon an already potent brand of power pop that folds angular new-wave riffs into chugging Merseybeat rhythms and tops it all off with some finely tuned vocal harmonies. Songwriters Carl Newman and Dan Bejar leave plenty of room for punchy guitar playing, crisp drumming, and seasoned keyboard embellishments, but Electric Version is a singerís album, with layered vocal arrangements built into every song. And though she settles for back-up duties on most tracks, itís Case who gives the group their real star power, taking the lead on the upbeat "All for Swinging You Around" and dueting with Newman on the discís hookiest tune, "The Laws Have Changed." The New Pornographers may have begun life as a one-off, but Electric Version is the work of a seasoned rock band who have what it takes to stick around.

BY CHRISTOPHER BLAGG


Issue Date: July 11 - July 17, 2003
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