With their army of voices, walls of guitars and endless supply of rousing choruses, The New Pornographers have always presented themselves on a maximalist front.
Across two decades and now seven studio albums, it’s invariably worked in their favour – this is a collective of musicians who know how to take a big song and make it even bigger.
With that said, there are certainly changes afoot within Whiteout Conditions. For starters, it’s their first without long-serving drummer Kurt Dahle and vocalist/guitarist Dan Bejar – the latter sitting out the record to focus on his Destroyer project, while the former has split entirely. It’s also a record that focuses heavily on synthesizer and a darker, icier sound.
Lead single ‘High Ticket Attractions’ is still one of the catchiest songs of the year – as are ‘This Is The World Of The Theater’ and closer ‘Avalanche Alley’ – but they all come with a sting in the tail that is both surprising and invigorating.
Whiteout Conditions is a reinvention from a band whose wheels have never stopped turning. It’s a smart, progressive album that is testament to The New Pornographers’ staying power after all these years. Rave unto the joy fantastic.
Whiteout Conditions is out now through Concord/Caroline.