The New Pornographers | An Overview of Together

The New Pornographers are known as one of the greatest Canadian indie bands of all time, among the ranks of Arcade Fire in terms of notoriety and influence. With three people shouldering the vocals for the band, their music took on a truly distinctive sound, often embedded with harmonies and shifts in vocal focus between Carl Newman, Dan Bejar and Neko Case. Based out of Vancouver B.C. the band has left a permanent mark in that part of the world, the band being used as a sort of measuring stick for other local artists to lean against and try to measure up to.

The impact that The New Pornographers have had on the music scene is obvious in every attempted copying of their style seen more and more often among up and coming bands today. Albums like Twin Cinema (2005) and Mass Romantic (2000) were very important. These albums embodied a certain aspect of the band, an intensity and vision generally reserved for the most seasoned musicians. But as the years wore on so did The New Pornographers.

It hasn’t been too long since The New Pornographers came out with their album Challengers in 2007, but since then one member of the Canadian Indie band has released a solo album that challenges the need for other members of the band. The person we are talking about here is Neko Case and the album her 2009 release of Middle Cyclone, an album which redefined her as a solo artist and a standout among her peers. Sure Case has released other albums without the help of The New Pornographers, but they couldn’t hold a candle to Middle Cyclone. Case has fine tuned her own brand of folksy indie rock to a point where it is hard to find a fare artist to even propose a comparison; The New Pornographers on the other hand seem to be struggling to recapture some of their former energy with the release of Together.

The title of this album is Together the more you listen, the more you think they might be better if they were apart. Whenever you think back to some of the great songs that this band has come out with such as July Jones, Jackie, From Blown Speakers and Sing Me Spanish Techno, you are given the distinct impression that Together is not the band’s best work. Aside from a few stand outs on the new album like Your Hands (Together) and Silver Denny Dollar this album is definitely a disappointment. The reason being, Together though it’s definitely a The New Pornographers album but it lacks much of the zest the former albums had in spades. Perhaps it is a sign of the band’s maturing but Together feels like a more moderate example of what they are capable of doing.

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