Canadian indie pop supergroup The New Pornographers are back with a new album called In The Morse Code of Brake Lights, which will be released on September 27, 2019. The album was produced by the band’s own A.C. Newman and will be released on their label Collected Work Records in partnership with Concord Records. In addition to the new album announcement, the group has provided the first taste of the album with the first single “Falling Down The Stairs of Your Smile” as well as a fall 2019 tour with Lady Lamb. The current lineup of The New Pornographers is A.C. Newman, Blaine Thurier, John Collins, Joe Seiders, Kathryn Calder, Neko Case, Todd Fancey and Simi Stone.
The new song “Falling Down The Stairs of Your Smile” is a play on the . It opens with some warm vintage-style synth tones, sort of sounding bit like a Hall and Oates cover. Within a few seconds, A.C. Newman’s instantly-identifiable vocal delivery enters the mix, with Neko Case’s voice quietly entering the song before taking over the lead for the chorus. It’s a familiar formula the band has used to great success over the decades without ever sounding formulaic. And of course, as always the song is chock full of sugary melodic turns that make every passage just as interesting as the one that came before it.
The title of the song is apparently a play on the old song-titling cliche of “(something) of love” – Newman offers examples like “Book of Love” and “Freeway of Love,” or say, “Sunshine of Your Love.” “I thought of ‘falling down the stairs of your love,’ and I thought, that kind of works,” said Newman.
While there are a lot of songs on the record that mention cars, it wasn’t really an intentional theme the songwriters followed. Newman says that about 2/3 of the way through writing the album, he realized the high percentage of car references in the material.
“The opening track is ‘You’ll Need a Backseat Driver,’ and that was a metaphor that seemed to be running through other songs, too,” said Newman. “Next to the love song, I feel like the car song is one of the most iconic kinds of songs in pop music, from Chuck Berry to the present. There was so much of that throughout it that I started thinking: ‘Oh, no, there’s too many references to cars on this record!’ And then I thought, ‘No, that’s good—people might think it’s a concept album.’”
In The Morse Code of Brake Lights track list
1. You’ll Need A Backseat Driver
2. The Surprise Knock
3. Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile
4. Colossus Of Rhodes
5. Higher Beams
6. Dreamlike And On The Rush
7. You Won’t Need Those Where You’re Going
8. Need Some Giants
9. Opening Ceremony
10. One Kind Of Solomon
11. Leather On The Seat
The band’s tour will begin later this month in Toronto. After that single late-summer date, the band will hit the road in earnest after the release of In The Morse Code of Brake Lights playing shows through the end of September, all of October and the middle of November. Many of the dates will be supported by singer-songwriter Lady Lamb.
The New Pornographers Fall 2019 Tour Dates
08/17 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
09/19 – Woodstock, NY – Levon Helm Studios
09/27 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre *
09/28 – Urbana, IL – Pygmalion Music Festival
09/29 – Columbia, MO – Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival
10/01 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue *
10/02 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre *
10/03 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre *
11/04 – Boston, MA – Royale*
11/05 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club*
11/07 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel*
11/08 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer*
11/10 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre*
11/11 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel*
11/12 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse*
UPDATE (9/9): The New Pornographers have released a video for the first single from In The Morse Code of Brake Lights, “Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile.” The video takes place in and around Central Los Angeles with a group of dancers partaking in some wild and random choreography.