New Pornographers, The - Continue As A Guest (Green & Blue)

Regular price $ 18.39

The New Pornographers segue into an interesting new phase on Continue as a Guest, their first record for Merge and ninth overall. As captain and primary songwriter, Carl Newman guides the veteran band into an uncertain future, celebrating its longevity while questioning its place in the modern landscape. In their trademark tandem vocals, he and Neko Case lay bare the realities of maintaining a beloved indie rock institution in its later years, singing "I found a place out on the plains, with some space to fall apart, with a long fadeout." The New Pornographers are something of a rock unicorn; a Vancouver indie supergroup formed in the late-'90s, they have not only retained most of their core players but operated at a consistently high level of quality for almost a quarter-century. Experimenting apparently for the first time with home recording, Newman injects some new sonic textures into this introspective batch of songs that touch on themes of societal ambivalence and isolation. Yes, Continue as a Guest is dark, but the band's inherent sense of craft gives even their moodiest cuts a sense of play and, at times, even mischief. Standout "Pontius Pilate's Home Movies" is a minor-key master class in tension-building with a Case-sung payoff chorus. Both "Really Really Light," a co-write with former/occasional member Dan Bejar, and the snakey "Last and Beautiful" pair low chugging riffs with woozy shoegaze patinas to great effect. Throughout the set, guest saxophonist Zach Djanikian adds an exciting sonic flair that really suits the album's mercurial nature. As reliable exponents of 21st century power pop, the New Pornographers bring their share of clever melodic twists and turns, especially on "Angelcover," a punchy all-hands-on-deck highlight featuring all three of the band's main vocalists, Newman, Case, and keyboardist Kathryn Calder. While Continue as a Guest may not have the immediacy of career standouts like Twin Cinema or even Brill Bruisers, it succeeds more subtly on its own terms and begs for repeated listens.

Green & Blue Vinyl

1 Really Really Light 3:21
2 Pontius Pilate's Home Movies 3:54
3 Cat and Mouse With the Light 3:59
4 Last and Beautiful 4:18
5 Continue as a Guest 4:24
6 Bottle Episodes 4:12
7 Marie and the Undersea 4:42
8 Angelcover 3:31
9 Firework in the Falling Snow3 :22
10 Wish Automatic Suite 5:20