In the Morse Code of Brake Lights

The New Pornographers - In the Morse Code of Brake Lights
Critic Score
Based on 14 reviews
2019 Ratings: #390 / 689
User Score
Based on 93 ratings
2019 Ratings: #821
September 27, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
Concord / Label
Power Pop, Indie Pop / Genres
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Under The Radar

The sheer, exhilarating high of early albums is gone, as is the laser focus pushing through to the end of songs. There are more sideways glances, more pauses. They can sprint when they need to, but not forever. This release proves that they don't have to anymore.

Slant Magazine

Brake Lights is, at least by the group’s typical power-pop standards, a heavier, murkier affair, with Newman’s voice sitting front and center for much of its duration.


Despite any nitpicky issues one may find with In the Morse Code of Brake Lights, it's refreshing to see the New Pornographers, 20 years into their existence, still trying to swing for the fences.

No Ripcord

Though the songs here are sturdy and resilient enough to withstand an administration or two, in some key spots they don’t scale the musical heights of prior efforts.

Give 'em props as most "supergroups" don't get a discog this deep, but this record fails to leave much of an impression. They're still solid songwriters, but this and Whiteout Conditions are pretty strong indicators that they're out of interesting ideas sonically. A.C. Newman has never sounded more like a discount store James Mercer than he does here. Their best is far behind them and Dan Bejar isn't here to bail out the tracklisting anymore.
I thought this was pretty decent. A couple of standout tracks, and I love the use of those sharp dramatic strings in certain moments, I thought the balance of singers was excellent too, however as others have mentioned maybe a little too safe and predictable.
Falling Into Nothingness
I've never listened to New Pornographers before, so I kinda just went into this thing blind.. but I was fucking BLOWN AWAY. It's poppy, it's melancholic, it's engaging, the lyrics are interesting... its good. I love the way the two vocalists swap between one another. It got me back into indie-pop, I've been away from the genre for a minute.

My only worry is that the rest of their discog sounds exactly like this, and it's not really a step-up from their other work but as someone who has never ... read more
I only discovered that this album was a thing just over a week ago, and it made me think why it seemed to be missing from a lot of peoples radars. In the past The New Pornographers were always a pretty interesting band to me, but perhaps now they have slipped into irrelevancy. This album suffers from being just another The New Pornographers album. One that doesn't really break any new barriers, and one that certainly doesn't stand out in today's over-populated music release calendar. A lot of ... read more
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Year End Lists


Track List

  1. You'll Need a New Backseat Driver
  2. The Surprise Knock
  3. Falling down the Stairs of Your Smile
  4. Colossus of Rhodes
  5. Higher Beams
  6. Dreamlike and on the Rush
  7. You Won't Need Those Where You're Going
  8. Need Some Giants
  9. Opening Ceremony
  10. One Kind of Solomon
  11. Leather on the Seat
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Added on: September 13, 2019