The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers' latest full-length, Together, moves at a fast pace. You can picture the string sections sawing along to keep up with the speedy, rollicking melodies. And it's all wonderfully fresh and exuberant. "Your Hands (Together)" is thunderous and thrilling, the band's best single since 2005's "The Bleeding Heart Show." And thankfully, Neko Case has a more exciting presence here than she did on their last record, 2007's mediocre Challengers. She makes that much clear early, on "The Crash Years," when she brazenly declares, "There's no other show like it 'round here." Together does eventually slow down, but the lovely piano ballads "My Shepherd" and particularly "Valkyrie In the Roller Disco" are worth the pause. And even those songs, with their perfectly solid vocal harmonies, pulse with energy. It's music that fairly glows with happiness.

Sat., July 31, 8 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 1, 8 p.m., 2010

 
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