The New Pornographers have returned with their eighth album, the hook-laden In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights.
The album kicks off with “You’ll Need A New Backseat Driver,” with Neko Case channeling Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” in a fit of what Rolling Stone has called “panic attack pop.”
As ever, The New Pornographers are socially-conscious, and there are several teases to current events on the new album. But rather than dwell, The New Pornographers have introduced a new layer to their sound: the bubble-gum driving song, apt for the moving-on feel of the release.
“I was about two-thirds of the way through the record when I began to notice that lyrically so much of it was pointing toward car songs,” wrote frontman and chief songwriter A.C. Newman in the run-up to the album’s release.
Case, who shines on the outing, sings on “Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile”: “Yeah there’s room at the top / Pretty cheap for the view / But the vertigo drop put the skyline askew.”
The challenge of the new sound seemed to be painting in a rosier picture, and Newman made a conscious effort to include songs directly referencing love to offset the commonplace fears.
“I think [the album] has that element of how do you deal with the ideas of love and happiness in this world right now?” Newman said. “So I like the metaphor of love as something that you fall down.”
In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights is our Album Of The Week. The New Pornographers play the Gothic Theatre, February 15.