Spin magazine called them "a reason to greet the day," and sure enough, 'Electric Version' is the most important meal of the day. Shaking our jaded asses from their slacker haze, the New Pornographers have had the same effect on the Matador offices as when Dolly Parton hijacked the company in "9 to 5." With impossibly huge hooks and an innate understanding of every pop trick in the book, this followup to 2000�s breakthrough 'Mass Romantic' is the most exciting pop record we�ve heard in a long while, and the best summer record since 'Surfer Rosa.'
The New Pornographers formed in Vancouver in 1997 as Carl Newman�s big idea, recruiting his favorite local talents to realize his grand vision. One of the first songs they recorded was "Letter From An Occupant," featuring the wildly soaring twang-free vocals of Neko Case, which stands as one of the greatest Canadian singles ever. Mint Records released 'Mass Romantic' in 2000, and when, at the 2001 SXSW festival, Ray Davies hopped on stage with the band and performed "Starstruck" for the first time ever live, well, things started rolling.
With 'Electric Version', rather than recording in pieces here & there and working songs out in the studio, the Pornographers went in with an arsenal of new songs, many of them already live favorites, and having been playing as a band for years. The result is much fuller and more confident than 'Mass Romantic', absolutely classic power pop on par with the best of the genre. Carl Newman is probably the shrewdest songwriter working today, with a surreal edge and tricky wit. Some say he is a tyrant, but he is merely self-assured. Dan Bejar, who also enjoys a career as Merge recording artist Destroyer, flies into a lesbian rage on "Chump Change," and also offers "Testament To Youth In Verse" and "Ballad Of A Comeback Kid." On the first single, "The Laws Have Changed," Neko gleefully introduces "for the first time, Pharaoh on the microphone" and elsewhere, as on "Miss Teen Wordpower," she goes for the throat with unabashed emotion.