Monday, September 12, 2005

The Bleeding Heart Show/Jackie Dressed in Cobras-The New Pornographers

When the NPs label released "Twin Cinema" and "Use It" as free MP3 downloads, they were fucking with us, saying these were two "standout tracks" from Twin Cinema, when in all actuality they could have picked anything they wanted. This album is a masterpiece of songcraft. What I mean by that is the songs save one or two seem as well constructed as possible. The sound on this album is much less dense and much more clear than on their previous two, yet it doesn't border on slick, it just sounds clear. Perhaps it is the slightly increased use of reverb, and the focus on guitar and piano. The first song "The Bleeding Heart Show" is almost a ballad for them, meaning mid-tempo, but filled with quiet strumming at the beginning, and you can feel it build toward something, and that something is a glorious coda filled with "Hey la hey la" and you want to cry, not because it is sad, but because it is so good.

"Jackie Dressed in Cobras" is a Dan Bejar contribution (the NPs have two main songwriters) and Dan is the more obscure and acquired taste. He is theatrical and offbeat, and this song is no exception, except he incorporates some incredibly catchy without being too hooky Buffalo Springfield guitar and Neko Case's voice and some totally insane lyrics. And he spits them out in staccato bursts and the band follows him. I can't explain it, this album is very mature, possibly a disappointment for some, but a revelation for me. These guys are at the top of their game, and the new album is an indie pop jewel. Treasure it, and BUY it- gives these guys enough support that they go back into the studio.