The New Pornographers Electric Version

[Mint/Matador; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: indie pop, indie rock
Others: Neko Case, The Shins, Destroyer

How do you prepare yourself to release your second album after receiving critical acclaim on your first release?  You are aware that everybody is watching you very carefully and are monitoring your every step taken. So perhaps you should change your lyrical style? Perhaps you should include more instrumentation to your songs? Perhaps you should collaborate with popular singers or musicians? Or maybe you should completely duplicate your previous record! What do you mean? That would never work. Yes, I agree in most cases, except for The New Pornographer’s Electric Version, the follow up to their debut Mass Romantic

I could probably play both albums simultaneously and find no changes to their original formula. And why should they change anything; they have created one of the most astonishing indie rock albums with Mass Romantic. It was full of modern pop melodies, catchy hooks and heart-felt, dramatic vocals creating a record reminiscent of Brit Pop’s olden days. Electric Version continues in the same fashion, making a tighter and bolder statement; indie rock is here to stay. “All for Swinging Around You” is the new “Letter to an Occupant,” as Neko Case wails her sultry vocals behind an up-tempo, appealing groove. Dan Bejar seems back to form with the anthem “Chump Change”, the finest song he has performed since Streethawk: A Seduction.

So why would Electric Version receive such a high rating even though there is no growth to The New Pornographers’ musical style. Maybe Electric Version is a perfect sampler of what to expect from the superstars in The New Pornographers. Neko Case was impressive on Blacklisted; now we have something to hold us together until her next album is completed. As for Dan Bejar of Destroyer, I am glad that he has shaken the demons of This Night (even though it wasn’t that bad of an album). 

On a whole, Electric Version fits beautifully beside Mass Romantic in my music collection. And to be honest, I was getting a little tired of playing Mass Romantic on a daily basis. Now I have something new to play….well, not new but new!  You know what I mean!

1. The Electric Version
2. From Blown Speakers
3. The Laws Have Changed
4. The End of Medicine
5. Loose Translation
6. Chump Change
7. All for Swinging You Around
8. The New Face of Zero and One
9. Testament to Youth in Verse
10. It's Only Divine Right
11. Ballad of a Comeback Kid
12. July Jones
13. Miss Teen Wordpower