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Challengers [Digipak] *

Album: Challengers [Digipak] *
# Song Title   Time
1)    My Rights Versus Yours
2)    All the Old Show Stoppers
3)    Challengers
4)    Myriad Harbour
5)    All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth
6)    Failsafe
7)    Unguided
8)    Entering White Cecilia
9)    Go Places
10)    Mutiny, I Promise You
11)    Adventures in Solitude
12)    Spirit of Giving, The
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • The New Pornographers: Neko Case (vocals); Daniel Bejar (guitars); John Collins (baritone guitar); Todd Fancey (banjo); Kathryn Calder (piano); Blaine Thurier (Fender Rhodes piano); A.C. Newman (bass guitar); Kurt Dahle (drums).
  • Additional personnel: Phil Palazzolo (guitar); Eileen Gannon (harp); Tara Szczygielski, Olivier Manchon (violin); Marla Hansen (viola); Benjamin D. Kalb (cello); Leslie Kubicka (flute); Brendan Ryan (accordion); Alan Hampton (double bass).
  • One of the many things that make the New Pornographers an excellent band is their ability to turn power pop, a genre characterized by its bubblegum orthodoxy and instant appeal into complex, durable art. The Vancouver collective comprising several singer-songwriters with solo careers of their own successfully mined this territory over their first three albums; their fourth finds them delving deeper. 2007's CHALLENGERS brims with the band's usual sterling melodies and meticulous songcraft, while expanding their range sonically and conceptually.
  • With "My Right Versus Yours" and "All the Old Showstoppers," among others, primary songwriter A.C. Newman pens some of the album's best tunes, striking a fine balance between pop directness and heady unpredictability. Dan Bejar's tracks contrast Newman's with their dark, glam-tinged eccentricity (he even glosses hip-hop on "Myriad Harbor"). As usual, the angelic voice of alt-country singer Neko Case plays a starring role; her treatment of the title cut is one of CHALLENGERS' highlights. All this variety mixes with an intriguing instrumental palette (Farfisa organ, strings, harp), and the usual blast of guitars, harmonies, and infectious hooks, to create an album that invites and rewards repeated listening.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.71) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[S]lower and more thoughtful, but mostly it keeps up the hook-pumped, harmony-chocked power pop..."

Spin (p.136) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[M]ost of CHALLENGERS trades the fuzzy synths and galloping drums of the outfit's past records for acoustic-based ruminations on matters of the heart."

Alternative Press (p.162) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[With] brain-teasing melodies and majestic orchestration..."

Magnet (p.106) - "CHALLENGERS' 'The Spirit Of Giving' finds the Pornos on the inside, victorious and sitting pretty."
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