It's impossible to listen to the New Pornographers' first record in four years without considering the excellent solo efforts that have come out of the supergroup in the time since. Grammy-nominated Neko Case, Dan Bejar (as Destroyer) and frontman AC Newman all released standout albums in the past three years. Combine that with the fact that most indie rock savants have already declared their favourite New Pornos album (for this reviewer, 2005's Twin Cinema) and listening to their latest suddenly becomes less about the record and more about the context.
Given the relatively cool demeanour of their previous two releases, it makes sense that Brill Bruisers is their most high-energy album to date. The Bejar-fronted War On The East Coast is rife with arpeggiated synth and a flurry of amped-up guitars, and Newman's Backstairs salutes the 1980s with robotic backing vocals. Emotionally, this album doesn't live up to the principals' own recent projects, but it's an energetic, feel-good summer listen - in traditional New Pornographer's style.
Top track: Brill Bruisers
The New Pornographers play Riot Fest September 7.