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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives pop music a good name, 12 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mass Romantic (Audio CD)
Honestly fantastic genre-less songs. Indie in spirit but not in sound. If chart bands were actually really good they might sound like this. Neko Case features to a small degree. Her fans won't be disappointed, but this is not country - it's pop. This is about as easy listening as quality gets. You'll remember what it was like to sing along.
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the streetlight dawn, this beat turns on..., 8 July 2002
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mass Romantic (Audio CD)
While Wilco's 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' is the best album of 2001 released in 2002, 'Mass Romantic' is the best 2000 album released in 2002. And hearing it now, I feel a little cheated that I've not had the pleasure of this soundtracking my life since its North-American release in late 2000.
So, it was down to a sampler with Uncut magazine and its inclusion of the title track- sung by Neko Case (who, with her boyfriends made another great song, the John Peel fave 'Twist the Knife'). But this song?- I had to play it on repeat all night.
'Mass Romantic' is contender for the best pop song of all time. It sounds like Paul Morley's OTT NME hyperbole regarding Kim Wilde. Imagine Blondie, Madder Rose,Liz Phair and Magnetic Fields colliding and making something with the heavenly quality of The Go Go's 'Head Over Heels' or Sparks 'Hasta Manana Monsieur'. The last songs to really do it for me this way were 'Cannonball' by The Breeders and 'Sweet Lovin Man' by Magnetic Fields. Imagine Suzi Quatro being backed by THe Smiths...
The rest of the album is almost as great- 'The Fake Headlines' the meeting point of Belle & Sebastian and The Jayhawks. While 'The Slow Descent into Alcoholism' sounds like THe Wondermints playing 'Submarine Bells'. Or The Cars covered by Apples in Stereo. Or Stevie Nicks giving backing vocals to The Russian Futurists. Best false ending since either A-Ha's 'I've Been Losing You' or Big Black's 'L Dopa'.This, as XTC sang, is POP!!!
Yes, POP- something that has been derided by shallow exponents such as Britney and Steps or neuteured by irony by Blur and U2. 'Mystery Hours' makes you wonder if this can get any better- one of the three male singers' sounds like Ultra Vivid Scene's Kurt Ralske fronting a 'Beauty & the Beat' song. "The sound of the collective groaning"- there's a hint of Pulp keyboard'wise and if you dig the perfect pop of The Posies or Sloan. Much better than the hype of HIves, Vines and White Stripes- who are just poor man's Stooges, Nirvana and Violent Femmes respectively.
'Jackie' sounds a cross between Vic Goddard and The Go Betweens- except with a Roxy styled guitar ('Casanova') and those sublime harmonics from Case and co. Neko takes the lead vocals again on 'Letter from an Occupant'- if Joan Jett had been the lead singer in Throwing Muses? Great wooh's and the lyrical assurance of "that tune you'll be humming forever".
'To Wild Homes' is the closest to alt-country here- though with a pop edge that could be Todd Rundgren or Mull Historical Society and everyone takes turn to sing, like The Band on 'To Kingdom Come'. A very under-rated effect! 'The Body Says No' sounds like Dennis Wilson playing 'Got to Know the Woman' with The Knack. This is a good thing- as great as Janeane Garofelo singing 'My Sharona'.
'Execution Day' blends new wave synths with high-pitched vocies- this is what Blur would have sounded like around 'Modern Life is Rubbish' if they had any originality. 'Centre for Holy Wars' injects more perfect pop into the mix, those backing vocals- if Van Dyke Parks had recorded the soundtrack to 'The Breakfast Club'? Oh, this one has that dizzy feeling of falling towards another welcoming mouth and proof that a song can evoke that Proustian feeling even if it's about the GATT agreement. One for Douglas Coupland to do the twist with Amber Benson to. Oh yes.
'The Mary Martin Show' is a collision of eras, a bit like X-Ray Spex meets Almost Famous meets My So Called Life meets The Ice Storm meets Flirting. Another of the best pop songs ever. 'Breakin the Law' concludes this great debut album and no, it isn't a Judas Priest cover. But it does have kids singing on it, a la Smog's 'Knock Knock' or Talk Talk's 'The Colour of Spring'. This is a good thing.
'Mass Romantic' is an album you need. As great as Jim O'Rourke or Gemma Hayes or Wilco albums this year. Greater...Let's hope The New Pornographers will visit these shores and that if they release an album in Canada in 2002, that it will come out here sooner than 2004. This beat turns on indeed; next person who moans about contemporary music- listen to this and weep...
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 2nd best album of 2002., 17 Dec 2002
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mass Romantic (Audio CD)
This is the original issue of The New Pornographers album of 2000, Mass Romantic- issued belatedly on Matador records in 2002 in the UK. Owning Neko Case's Furnace Room Lullaby, I felt mildly ignorant upon hearing the title track on a sampler with a magazine. After playing the song on repeat all night, I purchased this album the next day. Having played (perhaps overplayed?) this album for 5 months, it has been edged out by Case's gorgeous Blacklisted album. Whatever.
Mass Romantic is a vague collective from Canada, people who like Magnetic Fields, The Wondermints & Spoon have a sense of pop. I still think the title track is the best song here- Case sounding as sexy as Suzi Quatro fronting The Smiths in my best 80's dreams. Case shows psueds like Shelby Lynne & Sheryl Crow how it should be done on Letter from an Occupant (as featured in the classic film Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) and pops up to provide sassy harmonics on other tracks. The other vocalists- Dan Bejar, Carl Newman & Kurt Dahle are as great- Mystery Hours sounding like Ultra Vivid Scene doing a Sloan song (with a hint of Pulp) & Jackie sounding like The Triffids meets Subway Sect. Every track is great- Centre for Holy Wars, Fake Headlines, The Body Says No...
If you dig that perfect pop of The Go Go's or wonder what Courtney Love dreamed of doing on Celebrity Skin or why Pink ought to be hunted down & fed to wild boars, then you should love this (undoubted) classic album. The tunes you'll be humming forever- pop is not a dirty word- hope we get a follow up album next year....
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Mass Romantic by New Pornographers (Audio CD - 2002)
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