The New Pornographers Challengers

The New Pornographers Challengers

Even the most die-hard fans of instant pop songs and golden melodies get tired of their limited palette after a while. The call to stretch, expand or layer your meticulous melodies gets too strong to ignore and, on their fourth album, Carl Newman and company prove that quite handily — this is a quieter, more mature and incredibly lush-sounding affair. It could have fallen flat, but somehow, it all still fits and that old feelin’ still hits you right in the gut. Take "Challengers” and "Go Places,” where the subtle delivery by Neko Case really comes through due to the restrained instrumentation and energy. It should also be noted that new New Pornographer Kathryn Calder wears the mantle of siren quite well, especially on the lovely "Adventures in Solitude.” Though the band is laid a little more emotionally bare here, they still know how to start a dance-off as "All the Things That Go To Heaven and Earth” is classic rousing fun. Also, Dan Bejar continues his streak of one classic song per album with "Myriad Harbour” easily taking that crown. A leap forward sonically and emotionally, the band is definitely growing up without growing old. (Last Gang)