The New Pornographers

Twin Cinema

On Twin Cinema, the pop-tastic songs of Carl Newman and company wrap themselves around you in ways that are stranger and more uninhibited than ever. Sure, you might want to pump your fists to the more muscular indie gems (and you can, brothers and sisters, you most certainly can), but there is more here than just glorious power-pop -- let's call it ... art. Twin Cinema is not the Pornographers' experimental record, it's just that the songs on it change from surreal to celebratory within seconds, guitar tones are distorted and bent and generally freaked way the hell out. Oh yeah, and the lyrics are largely indecipherable (though the choruses seem to be about victory and joy). But let me not mislead: Everything that made the group good in the first place -- Who-like force, huge harmonies, braniac melodies -- remains intact, only now these traits are used to champion the voice of the muddled, confused masses; double-entendres, alliterative lyrics, and songs about dislocation play to the kind of person who takes "two sips from the cup of human kindness and I'm shitfaced." The three songs here penned by Dan Bejar (he of Destroyer) are among the band's finest. Try listening to "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras" or "Streets of Fire" and not going spastic over how well the musicians give life to Bejar's surreal poetry. These songs generate enough energy to power a fleet of Hybrids cross-country. Twice.

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