The New Pornographers: A.C. Newman (vocals, guitar, E-bow, harmonica, pump organ, synthesizer, xylophone); Dan Bejar (vocals, guitar, melodion, synthesizer); Dave Carswell (vocals, slide guitar); John Collins (vocals, E-bow, synthesizer, bass guitar); Kurt Dahle (vocals, drums, percussion); Neko Case (vocals); Todd Fancey (guitar); Todd MacDonald (mandolin); Tyr Jami (cello); Shaun Brodie (trumpet); Blaine Thurier (synthesizer).
Additional personnel: Kathryn Calder (vocals, piano); Nora O'Connor (vocals).
The follow-up to indie-rock collective New Pornographers' lauded ELECTRIC VERSION, 2005's TWIN CINEMA expands on that album's power-pop sound. Here the group, masterminded by singer/multi-instrumentalist A.C. Newman, has added a new member--vocalist/pianist Kathryn Calder (Newman's niece)--while both the songwriting and arrangements have become more adventurous.
The energetic title track sounds like an unlikely collaboration between Wire and Big Star, while "The Bones of an Idol" recalls mid-1970s Brian Eno. As always, alt-country star Neko Case steals the show, particularly on "These Are the Fables," an urgent, piano-based tune that spotlights her potent Patsy Cline-on-caffeine vocals. Destroyer's Dan Bejar also contributes a handful of songs, including the quirky T. Rex-meets-New Wave track "Broken Beads." The New Pornographers have enough talent and imagination to weave their various influences into their own unique sound, and the result is a buoyant, engaging collection of songs. Although some might have doubted that the band could top ELECTRIC VERSION, they may have done exactly that with the ambitious TWIN CINEMA.