Electric Version Import
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The New Pornographers' debut album was the stuff of legend, a near-perfect collection of catchy songs filled with lush sonics, anthemic sing-alongs, and retro pop hooks. Seemingly out of nowhere, the band--featuring Zumpano's Carl Newman, Destroyer's Dan Bejar, and alt-country goddess Neko Case--forged a power pop masterpiece. Electric Version is, thankfully, not all that different. For its 45 minutes, the album never eases up on its great influences; you're treated to a baker's dozen of memorable tunes that harken to prog-rock, New Wave, and the British Invasion. The lyrics are goofy, the production fills your stereo (like the best, most upbeat tracks by Wilco or the Flaming Lips), and the alternating vocalists keep things fresh. The songs only get better as the album progresses; "Chump Change," "Ballad of a Comeback Kid,"and "July Jones" are three that standout. Somehow this indie supergroup is making classic rock ... today. --Jason Verlinde
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Top Customer Reviews
Okay, so with that said, Electric Version is a conglomerate of talented musicians coming together to create a sound that's not necessarily new; it's only just being re-introduced to the 2000's. It's sort of a mixture of different types of 60's retro pop mixed into the rock music of today. Think of The Shins, think of The Lilys, think of The Wrens, think of any band that uses an organ as a main instrument....
The mixture of male and female vocals is usually not one of my favorites, but with The New Pornographers, it really works. I think it's more because of Neko Case being the female singer than anything else. Either singer could certainly sing on the CD independently, and it would still be a great release.
I think any fan of some of the abovementioned bands would love The New Pornographers. In 2004 I can't say it's certainly a fresh "new" sound for music today (seems there has been more of an influx of this same sound since Electric Version's release), but if you're trying to discover another band that fits the bill, then The New Pornographers is one for you. The more I listen to it, the more I love it.
But the more curious thing about the album than it's Meatloaf-on-Lucky-Charms blast from a Little League past, or mini- romp with Wings, the Pixies and even a little Kinks, is that the lyrics sound hesitatingly like... Christian rock. They aren't printed, but you can make out enough of the words to seal that deal. There's a song titled 'A Testament to Youth in Verse,' where the N.P. manage to throw in, "Can we control ourselves for once/ keep our hands off each other/ keep our minds on the sum of each other's souls." In 'Loose Translation,' a narrative song about a girl in a green shirt, the ball starts rolling with "One holy ghost for a holy girl." And 'The Laws Have Changed' sports this refrain: "All hail/ what will be revealed today/ when we peer to the great unknown/ from the land of the throne," topping it off with a chorus nah-nah-nah-ing "form a line to the throne." But the tiny lyric to tip me off in this direction was from 'It's Only Divine Right,' which might have said enough right there: "you hair parted like the red sea." Very particular, not that random.
Perhaps this was just another instance of theme-and-variations. Or perhaps these are the tentative stanzas of passive-aggressive Christian rockers, albeit with a real sense of music. The case was closed for me when I found the band pulled its name from a comment Jimmy Swaggart once made about music.
Enough said.Read more ›
But, in that same gloriousness lies the problem with what is easily one of the best albums of 2003. It makes you feel all fruity. The music is - for lack of better words - fruity. This one of those albums you don't show off to the guys. Unless you wan them to think less of you. It's not manly music at all - but it's so, so good. Most artists can only dream of making singles as catchy as every song on this album is.
These 7 Canadians made something really, really special. They've made a catchy rock album that actually makes you want to dance without ever sounding cheesy or lame. It's just really good, original music like nothing else out there right now. Seriously, who else has 5 vocalists and three members who play 3 different instruments? The New Pornographers are insanely talented, can be painfully poppy, but are always enjoyable on their sophomore "Electric Version." Have fun explaining exactly what the "New Pornographers" are to person at the cash regester, I sure couldn't.
If you're going back and forth between this album and Mass Romantic as a first purchase, I'd give the nod slightly to Electric Version based on it's improved sound and mind-numbingly catchy hooks. All in all, if this album doesn't make you at least crack a smile in it's too brief 40 minutes...therapy would be recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
The anthems are why I like this album so much. In fact this album takes me to work and back. It might even be jammed in my stereo on purpose too. I cannot get enough of this band. Read morePublished on April 30 2005 by Shane
Power pop should always be this fun. Nearly every song is a great singalong. If you are used to straight-up power pop, this one may take a few spins. Read morePublished on May 27 2004 by The MacGuffin
This band has done a great job. They have created a very solid sound. One of my favorite c'd.'s to turn on really loud and dance around to, it has the ability to release so much... Read morePublished on April 30 2004 by Leigh Warners
I first heard of the New Pornographers when I bought a white stripes cd. THEY SOUND NOTHING ALIKE. although i like the white stripes, the new pornographers are genuises. Read morePublished on April 23 2004 by Laura
From the outerlands comes a superior work that could make stone-faced warriors rid themselves of weapons and pride, and break furiously into an air-guitar romp. Read morePublished on April 21 2004 by Engel4Life
There seem to be three things people want to know about this CD: is it really that good (yes), is it as good as Mass Romantic (no), and does it have enough Neko Case for Neko Case... Read morePublished on April 15 2004
Energetic, surprisingly highly energetic indie rock from Neko Case and her Pornographers. Actually, she's got a huge amount of talent all around her including Carl Newman... Read morePublished on March 18 2004 by Jellybones
this album could be a five star with more neko case and less of the male lead singers fake sounding english accent while singing. Read morePublished on March 1 2004
This is probably the best pop record I've heard in years (even better than The Shins, which is saying a lot). Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2004
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