The New Pornographers Challengers on LP + Download
2007's Challengers is The New Pornographers fourth album and first recorded outside of bassist John Collins's basement studio. Airier, more spacious and more relaxed than its jackhammer predecessors, Challengers is the sound of songwriters Carl Newmanand Dan Béjar stretching out. In an interview with Pitchfork, Newman rejected the "power-pop" label and suggested "power-folk" instead, and several songs on the album live up to it, particularly the luscious Neko Case fronted ballads "Go Places" and "Challengers."
That's not to say the band doesn't play anthems - it certainly does, but a rousing track like Béjar's "Myriad Harbour" is more imbued with the ghosts of Fred Neil and Viv Stanshall than with the new-wave songsters of yore. In general, Newman's songwriting is slightly more scrutable; his lyrics still ring with wry perception and political metaphor, but betray some of the magnanimity that comes with new love - "our arms fill with miracles," he writes in "Go Places."
The sophisticated, rich production values and complex range of songwriting extended the New Pornographers' audience to new groups: AAA radio listeners, fans of Neko's solo work, and coffee drinkers in general. At the same time, the overflow of glorious pop hooks and stompers like "Heaven & Earth" and "Mutiny" kept the existing fanbase right in the groove.
The New Pornographers Challengers Track Listing:
1. My Rights Versus Yours
2. All the Old Showstoppers
4. Myriad Harbour
5. All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth
8. Entering White Cecilia
9. Go Places
10. Mutiny, I Promise You
11. Adventures in Solitude
12. The Spirit of Giving