Saturday, April 1, 2017

Album Review: Whiteout Conditions by The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers front man, A.C. Newman, once said in an interview with Big Takeover magazine that he would like to be able to write different kinds of music but he only knows how to write one kind.  When you have the market cornered of catchy power pop riffs and inter-playing, male and female harmonies I say, "If it ain't broke don't fix it".

The New Pornographers are not classified as a prolific band so a new album on the heels of 2014's Brill Bruisers is a reason for fans of the band to get excited.  Whiteout Conditions, being released on the bands own imprint Collected Works Records, is just their seventh studio album in 17 years and it picks up right where its power pop swan song, Brill Bruisers, left off.

For those of you that are not familiar with the super group that is The New Pornographers, let me provide you with this map.

Eight members, each with an impressive resume of solo work and band contributions, manage to sound their most cohesive on this outing.  Gone are the days of Dan Bejar songs or A.C. Newman songs.  Here are the days of New Pornographers songs.

According to A.C. Newman, The New Pornographers were shooting for their version of Krautrock meets 5th Dimension for this outing. This is most noticeable on songs like, "We've Been Here Before," and, "Clock Wise."  More than anything else it is the most unified band effort of the lot.  The harmonies are in full force throughout the album and so is the tempo.  By the time the final track, "Avalanche Alley," plays they are accelerating at 180 bpm.

Photo Credit: Jenny Jimenez

The songwriting is sleek and so is the production with subject matter ranging from political to emotional.  The opening track, "Play Money" sets the tone and dares you to keep up,  Some may be disappointed with the lack of ballads or Dan Bejar vocals but it is interesting to see The New Pornographers push the boundaries of what their band and their music should be. It opens up so many possibilities for the band in its future endeavors.

Whiteout Conditions by The New Pornographers is available April 7th on iTunes and Spotify. Catch them in a town near you on their Headlining Tour* or with Spoon†.

April 12 /// Los Angeles, CA /// Theatre at The Ace Hotel*
April 13 /// Oakland, CA /// Fox Theater*
April 14 /// Bend, OR /// Midtown Ballroom* 
April 15 /// Seattle, WA /// Moore Theatre*
April 16 /// Portland, OR /// Wonder Ballroom*
April 18 /// Minneapolis, MN /// First Avenue*
April 19 /// Chicago, IL /// The Metro*
April 20 /// Milwaukee, WI /// Pabst Theater*
April 21 /// Chicago, IL /// The Metro*
April 22 /// Columbus, OH /// Newport Music Hall*
April 25 /// Boston, MA /// House of Blues*
April 26 /// New York, NY /// Terminal 5*
April 27 /// Philadelphia, PA /// Union Transfer*
April 28 /// Washington, DC /// 9:30 Club (sold out)*
April 29 /// Washington, DC /// 9:30 Club* 
May 1 /// Raleigh, NC /// Ritz*
May 2 /// Atlanta, GA /// Variety Playhouse*
May 3 /// New Orleans, LA /// Tipitina’s*
May 4 /// Houston, TX /// White Oak Music Hall*
May 5 /// Dallas, TX /// Granada Theater*
May 6 /// Austin, TX /// Stubb’s* 
May 9 /// London, UK /// Electric Ballroom
May 10 /// Amsterdam, NL /// Paradiso Noord/Tolhuistuin
May 11 /// Berlin, DE /// Lido
May 13 /// Oslo, NO /// Vulkan Arena
May 14 /// Stockholm, SE /// Debaser Strand
May 16 /// Copenhagen, DK /// Loppen
May 18 /// Paris, FR /// Divan Du Monde
July 18 /// Charlotte, NC /// Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amph.†
July 19 /// Charlottesville, VA /// Sprint Pavilion†
July 22 /// Portland, ME /// State Theatre†
July 23 /// Montreal, QC /// Metropolis†
July 26 /// Pittsburgh, PA /// Stage AE†
August 11 /// Denver, CO /// Velorama Festival

See you when the needle drops!


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