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Album review | ROCK

The New Pornographers ‘Brill Bruisers’

The New Pornographers’ first album in four years bursts open with a vocal hook of overlapping oohs, ahs, and ohs, and second song “Champions of Red Wine” offers a soft electric chug, pillowy acoustic guitars, and fluttery keyboards. Those exact elements, in varying combinations (and often all together), recur in song after song throughout “Brill Bruisers,” but the band wields them so strongly that it becomes unifying, not repetitious. It helps that, even with the title track’s majestic riot of descending chords and the muted, headlong slash of “War on the East Coast,” the band has never sounded more relaxed, with a lived-in confidence. But thrills still abound, from the twist beat that drives the chorus of “Dancehall Domine” before unhinging entirely to Black Mountain’s Amber Webber clawing her way from the background of “Born With a Sound” to, in just a few bracing lines, steal the song. There are already four vocalists, and two women, that the New Pornographers can’t use enough. What’s one more? (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Champions of Red Wine”

The New Pornographers plays the House of Blues Nov. 19.

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