The Pornographer's Vows

A power-pop maestro settles down and loses a step, but stays far enough ahead

In fact, all the Pornographers' best songs ("The Bleeding Heart Show" and "Sing Me Spanish Techno," specifically) come from their best album, 2005's flawless Twin Cinema, the perfect midway point between Carl's early sugar-shock gallopers and his recent affinity for elegies, waltzes, and lovelorn proto- McCartney odes. But though he's forgoing the hooky in favor of the hokey these days, a few examples of the latter shine through the muck tonight, particularly "Go Places"—when Neko bellows "Good morning, Christina!" at its climax, it's a legitimate spine-tingler, a songwriter known for cryptic verbiage and polite restraint throwing it all out there for three words, admitting the same exuberance and absurd happiness that his wife displayed for all the world to see in The New York Times. Maybe he's amazed after all. He should be.

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