Three years after the sonic honey of Mass Romantic, the New Pornographers come up smiling once more with their sophomore effort and Matador debut, Electric Version. These beloved indie rockers stick with the syrupy goodness found on their first album, but opt to turn the amps up for a brighter, slicker sound, hence the title. It's a kitschy play on the band's power pop, and Carl Newman and secret member Dan Bejar keep their clever lyrical twists in tune. Twiddling riffs and organs dance with Neko Case's sunny harmonies on the rollicking "It's Only Divine Right" and "From Blown Speakers." The energy is there, but Electric Version captures a new kind of energy from the New Pornographers. While Mass Romantic was a little more quirky in spirit, Electric Version is more polished. They took just under a year to create this album, so naturally a fresh confidence would transpire and "The Laws Have Changed" highlights the New Pornographers' musical growth. This album standout is bold as brass, drenched in Case and Newman's perky vocals. "All for Swinging You Around" takes things further with wacky synth beats and tripped-up percussion, Velocity Girl-style, but its the band's own glossed-over rock & roll on "Miss Teen Worldpower" that truly represents the smooth emotion and might behind the New Pornographers' sound. Electric Version is an enjoyable and easy listen, chock-full of hungry hooks and brimming with indie rock's classic humility.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson