The New Pornographers

As leader of the seven-plus-member The New Pornographers, indie darling A.C. Newman knows his wickedly inventive supertroupe is still the sum of its parts. Be it Neko Case's angelic pipes ("The Bones of an Idol") or Dan (Destroyer) Bejar's alluring Bowie-esque donations ("Jackie, Dressed in Cobras"), the indie rock group broadens its scope on album number three. But despite ever-increasing acclaim and range, that core focus remains largely intact. As expected, Newman's quirky, creative sing-alongs are abundant, from the title cut to the rollicking "Use It." However, the chorale-steered psych rocker "Stand Alone" moves the alt-pop goalposts, and "The Bleeding Heart Show" is as eloquent as music gets. The successful exploitation of pop is nothing new, but Twin Cinema milks the genre for some choice money shots.

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John D. Luerssen