Word on the street was that the New Pornographers’s leader A.C. Newman had gone through a rough stretch, but made it out okay and was looking to make a “celebration record.” Brill Building Bruisers, the indie collective’s first LP in four years, is the result, and, have to say, the party seems forced.
The record glimmers, burbles and bursts with crafted grandness and harmonies. The pop is rocket-fuelled; the rock is pretty. Singers Newman and the immaculate Neko Case dance with precision, while cohort Dan Bejar cuts in with his best panache.
And yet, something is missing. On Wide Eyes, Newman sings about jumping the canyon after years of plannin’, but the album is all lift-off with too little landing. Great party, man, but where’s the confetti?