Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Immaculate Machine - Fables

Grade: B
Download: Dear Confessor

You'd expect the New Pornographers brand of serious power pop to get old at some point, wouldn't you? So why hasn't it? I'm going to submit that good songwriting always wins in a battle with genre exhaustion, and that's why the New Pornographers, with their slippery lyrics and unpredictable chord changes, always succeed. This is also why NP member Kathryn Calder's band Immaculate Machine has put out a really solid record.

Fables starts with the uber-catchy "Jarhand," which sets the stage perfectly: sweet melodies, a driving beat, and a surprise or two. (Spoiler alert: the track features Alex Kopranos from Franz Ferdinand. Surprise!) The upbeat tracks work best here, and while perhaps unfair, it's fitting to compare Immaculate Machine with Calder's other band. The New Pornographers have perfected this kind of dramatic pop, dropping the energy level only when entirely necessary. A sudden lag happens in the middle of Fables, starting with the slow, minor-key "Old Flame" and picking up steam again with track eight, the lovely "C'mon Sea Legs." "Pocket," the second-to-last track, is a quick little pop song, an example of how the right melody, the right lyrics, and the right tempo can combine for a great song. ("I can't offer you more than the gun in my pocket right now," sings Luke Kozlowski over a driving beat.) With the last track, a sparse ballad called "Blinding Light" sung by Calder, things draw to a close on a nice, understated note.

This is only the band's third LP (following Ones and Zeroes and Transporter), and there is enough self-assured songwriting and confident performances here to hint of great things to come. Here's hoping.
(David Brusie)

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2 Comments:

Blogger leslie said...

Brooke Gallupe sings Old Flame, not Luke.

The only song that Luke sings lead is Small Talk.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Kimberli said...

the lyrics for Pocket (which indeed are sung by brooke) are actually "I can't offer you more than I got in my pocket right now," not "the gun in my pocket."

5:46 PM  

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