Despite sporting a hook that's a tad derivative of the Edward Sharpe single "Home", "Crash Years," off The New Pornographer's latest albumTogether,
is bursting with enough sonic surprise to be intriguing. The intro to the song is unremarkable. A jangly start accompanied by some thundering cello, a common go-to instrument for lots of bands that usually has me hitting the skip button.
But soon, a lushly layered arrangement emerges and transitions to the aforementioned hook. It's one of those most unexpected melodies delivered through a chorus of whistles. The result is immediately memorable and leads to a rapid burst of endorphins. Meanwhile, the interplay of the grand instrumentation and singer Neko Case's cooing and imploring vocals augments the otherwise innocuous lyric, "Tonight will be an open mic," with some sort of ineffable meaning. Simply put, this song warrants an an album spin.
As a snob, I typically avoid indie bands from Canada. They all either seem to be emulating, or featuring members of Broken Social Scene. In the case of the New Pornographers, the band features BSS alum and co-founder, Kevin Drew. Don't get me wrong, I'm as big a fan of BSS as anyone, but there seems to be so many other bands from the great white north closely related to the seminal indie super-group and it's all sort of incestuous.
Bands of this heritage include Stars, as well as the Most Serene Republic not to mention the various projects of BSS collaborators Emily Haines and Leslie Feist. They all feature big elaborate arraignments and heartfelt lyrics. Great. The problem is that the region became synonymous with this type of sound, which like a dollar being counterfeited with unchecked abandon, diminished in value. The singularly quirky result of "Crash Years''" whistle hook however, seems to break this mold. Have a listen:
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A quick thank you to publicist Ash Eliot for hitting the switch that lit up this Sunday night post. A local music flak, Ash represents Fullerton band The Steelwells. She twittered about "Crash Years" being her theme song for the week and boom! A blog post was born.