The New Pornographers
What happens when a nation that was born to run, and to rev engines into the wild frontier, runs into the full stop that is our current social and political climate? The answer, my friend, is somewhere “In the Morse Code of Brake Lights,” as The New Pornographers would have it on their eighth album. There’s a deep climatic unease running through these 11 tracks that’s matched only by the sheer musical glee with which the band addresses the prevailing mood of the moment. It’s an album in which foreboding and bliss somehow go hand in hand—mixing founder A.C. Newman’s nearly symphonic levels of pop arrangement and harmony with a careening quality that feels unsafe at any speed (to quote the famous Ralph Nader phrase that the opening track also borrows).