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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The New Pornographers
Together
Matador

Rating: 6/10 ?


July 22, 2010
LAS called Electric Version "a virtual goldmine of unexpected astuteness in the wake of the joyous pop veneer of Mass Romantic," and for Twin Cinema we gave them a 10/10 and said they did "their thang [sic] bigger and better than any other similar act out [there] nowadays, setting the standard for catchiness, quirkiness and edginess." Regarding Challengers we said that the album is "chock full of crackling pearls, songs that are so well constructed and performed, that the album should be used as a case study for blossoming bands across the universe," which made us declare that the band could "toss off pop gems as effortlessly as you and I ride a bike."

Was it Chaucer that said all good things must come to an end? The New Pornographers' latest record might conclude our love affair; Together, doesn't sustain the heights of its predecessors, even though the band assembled guest appearances from indie all-stars Will Sheff (Okkervil River), St. Vincent, and Zack Condon (Beirut), as if they needed more hands on their already known-and-talented "supergroup" roster.

Together certainly starts with promise, as "Moves" and "Crash Years" are charismatic, laudable tracks that could conceivably reside among the bands best work. Yet beyond these songs the album is much like an antiquated roller coaster, languidly plodding between prosaic peaks and troths as the passengers reminisce how the ride used to be the best of the bunch.

For some reason, the band seemed to strip things down on this album, as the tracks are less sophisticated and experimental than on previous works, (which is fine for most bands, but for ones that aspire to keep their crown at the forefront of indie-pop, just not going to cut it). From cover-to-cover Together is pleasant enough to listen to, and even has some other bright spots ("Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk", "A Bite Out Of My Bed", "Up in the Dark"). Yet the main problem is that it has all been done before, and better, by the very artists themselves. The band recently demonstrated that they still have that effortlessly captivating compositional touch when they released "Hey, Snow White" on the superior Dark Was The Night charity compilation last year. The question for Together, then, is where did it go?

Reviewed by Brian Christopher Jones
A student living in Scotland and working toward a PhD in law.

See other reviews by Brian Christopher Jones

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