The New Pornographers - Challengers
One of indie rocks most favourite pop collectives return promptly after establishing themselves as one of the heavyweights of the indie world after their 2005 release "Twin Cinema". This is their fourth album since beginning their career a decade ago.
With the release of Destroyer's (Dan Bejar) "Rubies" and Neko Case's "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" last year the New Pornographer members were producing some career highlights in their solo careers not only musically but also gaining commerical attention. With coming out of their solo projects it was always interesting how their success would influence the new material.
The album commences, immediately with A.C Newman wailing sharply to the sweet melody of "My Rights Versus Yours" an all over catchy song to open the new set of songs. Leader of the collective again launches into the almost perfect sounds of "All the Old Showstoppers" the album at this point shows much promise. From there the pace slows down a tad as Neko Case takes over the reins with the title track, oh that voice - seriously one of the better female vocalists around right now, the song sets the contrast between the two opening tracks.
Now it's Bejar's turn to take the control as "Myriad Harbour" takes shapes with his distinctive whine though ever so engaging. "All The Things That Go To Make Heaven and Earth" and "Mutiny, I Promise You" are some more of the stand out tracks that appear throughout the album
"Unguided" the longest running track here clocking in over six minutes and probably the overall highlight of Challengers with several verses of catchy pop songcraft with AC at the helm. Another notable highlight is the backup singing which is constantly featured throughout the album, adding that extra pop sweetness.
Coming off releasing possible career highlights with past material it's always hard for anyone to live up to their name and expectations. This may not be the New Pornographers most accomplished work, though they still manage to churn out some quality material. As the album rarely discovers new territory it's still a fine pop album.