No, Not That Kind Of Pornographer

Now, you may have noticed by now that I like to listen to music - especially music coming from my very own native country); so, I hope that you can understand my excitement when I tell you that last night I had the supreme pleasure of obtaining not one, not two, not even three, but five new albums from both long time favorites and newly introduced bands (four of which do indeed hail from the great white north). Given the new and entirely inspired habit of indie bands to digitally release their albums before their official release date, I have plenty of opportunity to digest the contents of some of these releases before my opinion is (strongly) influenced by professional reviewers. So, I have decided to take this unique opportunity to give my opinion of two of these yet-to-be released albums before I have read a word from the multitude of music critics clamoring to dictate my tastes. But, wanting to preserve an air of balance, (and submitting to the pressures of my friends' sites who have labeled my blog as "Randy and Theresa's"), I have invited Theresa, who is much more passionate than I in regard to most everything (especially when it comes to new releases from her favorite bands), to add pen her own reviews.

Stars: In Our Bedroom After The War

Randal: Now, it would be a lie for me to say that this album was a not little bit of a letdown. Instead of the gorgeous orchestral music they perfected on their masterful "Set Yourself On Fire," Stars turn now to piano ballads and 80s synth-pop, with a couple of songs sounding so authentic, I could just imagine myself back in '83 sitting around in my diapers listening to top-40 radio. The amazing thing, though, is that the record is incredibly enjoyable - I guess if anyone can turn me on to Snyth-Pop, it would be Stars. Other than that, this album has a very optimistic, relaxing feel to it, as if, as the title suggests, us listeners are relaxing in a comfortable bedroom after emerging from an extended struggle, which makes it a great follow-up to "Set Yourself on Fire's" war-mongering tracks like "He Lied About Death" and "Soft Revolution." 8/10

Theresa: I have to say I was slightly disappointed with the new Stars album: it is nowhere near as good as "Set Yourself on Fire". The best way I can describe the way I feel about this album is to say it is like meeting your really awesome Grandpa after he has had a stroke, which has caused mild brain damage (mostly in the frontal lobe), causing him to lack personality; you still love him, but you think he is now boring. Hmm, I guess that analogy sounds a bit harsh, but that is how I feel about new Stars 3.88 stars out of 7. [ed-Theresa's also made the following analogy last night: the last Stars album was beautiful like Audrey Hepburn, and new Stars album is beautiful like Paris Hilton. I really must say that Theresa's aptitude with metaphors, which immediately let me understand her sentiments, seem much more powerful than my carefully chosen descriptions]

The New Pornographers: Challangers

Randal: The New Pornographers, much to my delight, have continued their shift from straight-forward power-pop supergroup into a more complex creature. On this record, although their upbeat tendencies are still evident, Carl Newman and Co. have produced a record that is much more folky and organic as any of their previous, filling the balance of the tracks with mid-tempo ballads. The Porno's have also apparently realized what a precious resource they have with their amazing female vocalist, Neko Case, and have moved her to the front and center. 9/10

Theresa: I really like the new New Pornographers record, they have changed things up enough to be fresh, without losing their signature sound. Neko Case is showcased more in the songs which adds a bit of a folky element, which is nice. Also, Dan Bejar has some particularly good tracks on this record, which may find a place in my heart (at least the outer layers of my heart). I would have to say this is the best New Pornographers album to date. I give this album 6 stars out of 7.

Well, there you have it. It seems like Theresa and I are truely "of one mind." (But to be fair, we did discuss the albums last night, so definitively influenced each other's opinions). To download songs from these albums, as well as other, check out my previous post.


Just Katy said...

I've been listening to In Our Bedroom After the War too and at first it threw me. I have to admit my initial thought was oh no some punk kids remixed these beautiful songs for their 80s themed raves. But it's grown on me. I wouldn't say Paris Hilton beautiful, maybe because I find her too revolting, more early Madonna style beautiful.