Themes of togetherness and love — both familial and romantic — turn up all over the New Pornographers' fifth album. Usually, the love that inspires them is the kind that falls apart. A.C. Newman wrote most of the songs here, and Neko Case is as much of a force on the mic as ever. Okkervil River's Will Sheff, Beirut's Zach Condon, and St. Vincent's Annie Clark contribute to the star-studded cast of players. The opening "Moves" starts with a crunchy metal guitar riff, juxtaposed with delicate piano. It sets the tone for Together, which builds piece-by-piece, bringing multi-faceted chamber pop to life. The (mostly) Vancouver-based bandmates prove again they are masters of pop history, paying tribute to George Harrison in "Crash Years" and Chicago's hit "25 or 6 to 4" in "Moves." Slow burners like "Valkyrie in the Roller Disco" have as much power and life as uptempo cuts like the Belle & Sebastian-esque "If You Can't See My Mirrors." It's not going to take a dark room to find love for Together.
— Danielle Sills
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