New Album, Minus A Few Longtime Members
Canadian indie pop band The New Pornographers have released their seventh album, Whiteout Conditions. With this brand-new album comes, not only 11 brand new songs, but a brand new New Pornographers. Whiteout Conditions is the first album by the group without drummer Kurt Dahle and singer-songwriter Dan Bejar, who was a prominent and seemingly vital member of the band. Joe Seiders, an LA-based multi-instrumentalist known for his work with Emitt Rhodes, John Oates, Tracy Bonham and Adam Lambert, replaced longtime drummer Dahle.
Although the New Pornographers are lacking a few band members, their notorious pop sound still remains in tact, while a new synth-heavy electronic style instills a few tracks with a pure ’80s feel (e.g. “Darling Shade,” “Juke” and the album’s lead single “High Ticket Attraction”). The latter song is a fun, pop-style number that is impossible not to dance to considering the number of drums, guitar riffs and synths included. Calder and Newman harmonize beautifully, at times alternating between singing individually and repeating each other’s parts to echo one other. “Darling Shade” and “This Is the World of the Theater” are some other tracks that inhibit those perfectly fused harmonies between the two vocalists.
Most of the songs on Whiteout Conditions are upbeat, happy and fast, with the exception of a few tracks, like “This Is the World of the Theater,” “Second Sleep” and “We’ve Been Here Before,” which are all a lot more electronic, as they experiment more with synths. They are also somewhat softer, slower pieces filled with whispering and sometimes moaning lyrics, while a low piano establishes that perfect dreamy feel. “Second Sleep,” for instance, is rich in that new wave electronic sound and plays with a variety of soft, unique hooks that all seem to come together effortlessly.
The absence of Dan Bejar on Whiteout Conditions is definitely palpable. His random eccentricities, that one recognizes in each and every one of his tracks, are missing, but The New Pornographers seem to be doing just fine. Rather than completely knocking the group off course, Bejar’s departure has simply guided the band in a slightly different direction.