Sep 23, 2005

new pornographers

The title of this post is the completely inappro- priate name of the band whose CD, Twin Cinema, is sitting in my CD drive. Some bands have names that are so bad it's almost impossible to overcome the feeling that their music must also be equally terrible. Even the cover is god awful. I generally do judge a book somewhat by its cover so it was only a 9.0 rating from Pitchfork that helped me over my inhibitions. Lucky for me.

On a simplistic level the Pornographers are Power pop with a slight penchant for the power over the pop. But this would be doing the album a serious injustice. A better description, if you can get your head around it, is a sort of analog version of DJ Shadow. They seem to sample tons of melodies, sounds, guitar rifts from bands spanning the decades and create new songs from them.

Off the top of my head you can hear distinct 'samples' from The Kinks, The Ramones, The Cocteau Twins, Lush, Joe Jackson, Nancy Sinatra, generic 70/80s cock rock (e.g., Iron Maiden), early Billy Joel, The Carpenter's, Gary Numan when he was doing punk with the Tubeway Army, Wings, Brian Eno, Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, Phil Collins, etc. They are all over the fucking place. And like DJ Shadow they like to match completely unrelated sounds. Take 'The Jessica Numbers". The best song on the album. There are clear samples of The Pixies, old Yes, any of the all-girl fey-pop bands on the Slumberland or Sarah labels, with some devastating cock rock guitar riffs thrown in toward the end. Hell they even use gunshots of chunky guitar and big drum hits in a reverse Fibonacci series to start the song. What the hell? Shouldn't you buy it on that alone? It's all exceptionally dense in composition. I don't know how they manage to get that much into a song. And thankfully they, like DJ Shadow, pull it off without a stumble.

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