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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
New Pornographers
Electric Version
Matador Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Hello dear reader, how have you been? Well, I hope. At least better than I at any rate. This spring has been a real musical downer for me and it has taken an album such as the New Pornographers' new disc Electric Version to get me out of my rut and back onto the keyboard for the helm-masters of LAS. Make no mind of the fact that Matador Records has forever banned LAS from their promotional mailings, press guy Ben having taken much offense to that hotly contested Interpol review last year. I heard half of Electric Version while driving in a friends' car and went right out and bought the album straight away- that is just how much it buttered my parsnips! Now, after sifting through lewd emails from LAS readers and appeals for assistance liquidating the Nigerian fortune of one Mrs. Dumba Iyere, I have found the time to sit down and put thoughts to mainframe on the lusciously appealing second album from Canadian pop-genius ensemble the New Pornographers.

While many of you may have fell flat on your backs in love with the New Pornographers' debut Mass Romantic, that album was but an opening act for the cool blue pop perfection of Electric Version, an album which benefits more from the full-time status given to the band by front man Carl Newman, Kurt Dahle (drums), new member and jack-of-all-trades Todd Fancey, John Collins (bass), and Blaine Thurier (keys). It did make my heart sink a bit when I learned that Destroyer mastermind Dan Bejar had decided not to sign on full time with the band, but the newfound dedication of the other members honestly leaves little room for Bejar's songwriting contributions. Bejar does appear, although in understated form, on the choo-choo of "Chump Change" and the remarkably infectious vocals of "Testament to Youth in Verse", but simply put, Electric Version is fantastic as it stands in Carl Newmann's likeness, so complete that contributions from masterminds such as Bejar are unnecessary.

While the bulk of the album remains an inflection of bouncy, joyous pop songs, there are new elements thrown in, such as the somber contemplation of "July Jones" and the understated, building momentum of "From Blown Speakers". I had heard the "The End of Medicine" on the reverse of the "Letter from an Occupant" single, but the re-configured version found here is much more fluid and concise, a definite improvement from the earlier B-side.

Without going on and on at length about each song on Electric Version I should simply state that the album is a virtual goldmine of unexpected astuteness in the wake of the joyous pop veneer of Mass Romantic. The new intensity may take a moment to get used to as you catch your breath, but the exhilaration of Electric Version will never wear off.

Reviewed by Monique LeBreau


See other reviews by Monique LeBreau

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