Recordings | Aug. 27, 2014

By Cait Brennan, Aug. 27, 2014.

New Pornographers | Brill Bruisers | Matador Records | 

A. C. Newman assembled the New Pornographers in 1999 like some kind of indie pop New-Pornographers_BrillBruisers_AlbumPackshotsuperfriends, gathering together musicians from a variety of other well-known bands within his native Canada and beyond. Fifteen years and four albums later, the group has reunited for what Newman describes as “a celebration record,” and with joyous pop like this, you may feel like celebrating too.

Newman told Rolling Stone he wanted “Xanadu meets Sigue Sigue Sputnik” — “sparklier and faster music.” He got it in a big way. On the title track, the crashing cymbals and crunchy powerpop hooks are irresistible even to the most jaded soul. Analog synths swirl like mad as Newman sings over a sea of lush harmonies that sound like the love child of Brian Wilson and Cheap Trick.

In “War On The East Coast,” the band radiates ’90s Britpop so cheerily you’ll be counting down to the “whoo-hoo.” The video is particularly priceless, as this notoriously video-avoidant band gets into a down-and-dirty street rumble.

Brill Bruisers is especially helped along by the thunderous wail of former Tucson resident Neko Case, whose own powerhouse solo work is absolutely essential listening in any record collection. She’s probably the greatest single voice in music today, and her stellar work here just burnishes that reputation.

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