Sticking with neon as on the cover of previous album Brill Bruisers The New Pornographers are now up to as many albums as they have members with the release of Whiteout Conditions. Whereas the 2014 release was dubbed a "celebration record" by the band Whiteout Conditions is being heralded as a "cohesive" one. What this seems to mean in practice is there's no stand out tracks.
Brill Bruisers has its title track & 'War On The East Coast', Together has 'Your Hands (Together)' (amongst others), Challengers has 'All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth' and the back catalogue list goes on yet, for all that it's far from being at all bad, Whiteout Conditions tends to stay in the one gear throughout. Maybe a wise strategy when driving in that type of weather but a risky move on a record.
'High Ticket Attractions', the first single from the album, is delivered in the higher register of the best of the band's most memorable, near sing-a-long, earlier material and so comes closest to what you may have anticipated hearing when you first became aware of the new full-length's impending arrival.
Lyrically there's absolutely no drop off in form, with 'This Is The World Of Theater' being a sure thing when it comes to putting a smile on your face both for its words and their joyful delivery. Indeed the septet succeed in leaving you as pleased as usual by the time final song 'Avalanche Alley' is done, despite the overall lack of anything lapel-grabbing amongst the 11 songs.
Whiteout Conditions is therefore a solid release from a band still playing to their collective strengths, albeit more so than usual with a slight drop off in excitement being the small price paid for individual members not shining as brightly as on previous releases. Live there should be no problems, other than that currently they only have one UK date (London, May 9 - tickets available here) scheduled.