Boomkat Product Review:
The line-up of Canadian super-group (yes, another one) The New Pornographers already boasts a line-up composed of indie A-listers like Neko Case, Destroyer's Dan Bejar and the band's frontman, AC Newman, but for this fifth studio album the core membership are helped out by Beirut's Zach Condon, St. Vincent's Annie Clark, Will Sheff of Okkervil River and the brass section from Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. The resultant LP is a breathtakingly full-blooded modern rock record that follows 2007's occasionally introspective Challengers with a spectacularly well-crafted, baroque power-pop extravaganza. Newman seems to be striving for ever more elaborately orchestrated melodies, and with the backing of some neatly inserted strings and horns songs like 'Moves' and the brilliant 'Crash Years' really ring out. On the latter you really start to hear Neko Case's voice cutting through the mix with clarion brilliance, and later on 'My Shepherd' she reminds you all over again what a commanding vocal presence she is. It's always interesting hearing Daniel Bejar's writing in the slightly inflated context of this band. While the presentation of his solo works has switched from lo-fi four-track recordings to general MIDI-channelling rock operettas, here he has the backing of a very full-on arrangement, rendering 'Silver Jenny Dollar', 'If You Can't See My Mirrors' and the superb 'Daughters Of Sorrow' in maximum widescreen, horn-laden glory. Not necessarily the hippest or most zeitgeisty of records, Together is instead a timelessly craftsman-like pop album, the like of which doesn't come along very often.