The 8 person indy-pop group, The New Pornographers, is back with an eighth album that is tougher than the rest. While reliably delivering its signature blend of powerful yet poppy guitar licks and radiant melodies, In the Morse Code of Brake Lights has a stripped-down quality that portends danger on the horizon. Neko Case and A. C. Newman—the band’s unofficial leaders and most successful solo artists—play to their strengths here: the former’s pure and full voice intermingles with Newman’s effervescent and vulnerable harmonies, adding direction to abstract lyrics, and emotion to pop-beat tempos. The group kicks off its latest tour at MASS MoCA. —C.J.F.
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