Hobbies are rewarding, so long as you stick with them. It Starts With has helped me get on the case musically in many respects if nothing else. Coming up to four years ago, when I first set this thing up, I figured, rightly or wrongly, that all the best music was at least twenty five years old, possibly more. This was probably owing to the fact that I simply didn't listen to much contemporary stuff at all at that point anymore and ignorance had set in as a kind of bliss for me. That's changed since then and writing the blog has been responsible. The self-imposed requirement with this particular series to post at least one new thing every day has encouraged me to look around much more than I ever did before getting this thing started!
So to New Pornographers, (an indie-supergroup so Pitchfork tells me), who are pretty new to me at least. Because of my perspective back in 2013 though, relatively established alternative bands like they already were had more or less completely passed me by. I'd missed out on a large part of ten years of new records and new bands and artists. This is odd in the case of this band as they'd been putting out records since 2000 or so and getting no shortage of praise from those who cared about and followed these things. Meanwhile I was completely unaware of them. Subsequently, their album of this year, Whiteout Conditions, is pretty much my first encounter with them.
Apologies then for those in the know. but to my ears New Pornographers should hardly be considered fashionable according to the evidence laid down by Whiteout Conditions although I imagine they probably are and long have been and the perameters of what's considered 'fashionable' have shifted a long way since I turned twenty. They remind me of The Tubes. Oh and Propaganda and ELO and ABBA, and Roxette, (of all people) and occasionally and less happily of the more unlikable tendencies of the Dandy Warhols.
It's all slightly a curates egg on first listening. Sometimes I find the album soothing, sometimes it swerves across the line into mainstream eighties radio fodder. Some of us have painful memories of poodle hair perms and Trevor Horn. And Queen's Radio Ga Ga. We really don't need that stuff ever again! On the other hand, when things roll back towards a slightly hipper sensibility Whiteout Conditions becomes a very good pop record rather than just an overly ironic and clever-clever one, with I suspect a more subtle manifesto running underneath in its lyrics and overall design. I'm at least eighty percent in its favour. Some of it I rather love. I've tried to post those moments here. So I guess, time to investigate yet another large back catalogue if I ever get the time!