The New Pornographers

Twin Cinema (Matador)

As its moniker implies, Twin Cinema essentially doubles the theatricality of previous Pornographers efforts. While the title track constitutes hooky indie pop, the album as a whole conjures images of a Rent-like musical, with most numbers custom-made for cast members to belt toward the balcony.

The shifting ensemble assembled by A.C. Newman, of Zumpano fame, is appropriately sprawling. Talents on board for the current production include veteran Pornographers such as Destroyer's Dan Bejar and singer Neko Case, and they're given plenty of opportunity to showcase their skills. "These Are the Fables" goes from subtle to ecstatic in just over three minutes, while "Sing Me Spanish Techno," which follows, bursts out of the wings under the power of impossibly cheery group vocals. The results suggest an Up With People performance featuring cool material rather than covers of "God Bless the U.S.A." and other patriotic staples.

Cinema may strike some listeners as cheesy, but it's redeemed by sincerity. Newman and his troupe just want to put on a good show -- and they do.

 
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