New Pornographers' songwriter A C Newman can be a frustrating talent, boasting ideas to burn but often guilty of over-egging the arrangements, a constant danger when dealing with an octet of multi-instrumentalists.
He's like 10cc minus the acerbity, or Roy Wood without the wild-rock spirit. The results can be brilliant, as on 2007's Challengers; but here they're more hit and miss. The vibrato backing vocals, plunking piano and throbbing psych-rock cello riff of "Moves" works a treat, and the rolling drum tattoo of "Your Hands (Together)" matches the song's celebratory tone perfectly; but elsewhere, tracks like "Up in the Dark" are slim ideas pursued too methodically. And when the musical ideas don't carry them well, Newman's overripe lyrics just flop limply.
Download this: Moves; Your Hands (Together); Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk