Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A.C. Newman - "Get Guilty" (review)

A.C. NewmanWith his new album "Get Guilty" under the guise of A.C. Newman, Carl Newman takes a break from his main gig with The New Pornographers. Although it's easy to make a statement like none of the songs on the album would sound out of place on a New Pornographers album, but that actually wouldn't be true. Perhaps that last statement is more true with A.C. Newman's debut album "The Slow Wonder", a punchier record that featured more straightforward melodies that were quite reminiscient of Newman's contributions to the New Porns like 'Twin Cinema'. However upon listen to Newman's new album, it's quite apparent that he's seemingly traded in the first record's punchiness for a newfound level of pop sophistication which had been his bread and butter as a member of 90's Sub Pop retro-pop softies Zumpano.

The mini symphonic pop of 'There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve" opens the album confidently then leading into the pop brilliance of "The Heartbreak Kid". It's with the punchier 'Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer' with accompanying background female vox that he starts to sound more like the New Porns. The densely layered pop brilliance of "Prophets" is a wonderful song full of intricate melodic and instrumetal arrangements but in my opinion would sound a little out of place on any of the existing New Porns album. "Submarines of Stockholm" feels like an exercise in 60's psychedelia reminiscient of Jellyfish especially with the la-la-la-la vocals that dot the song at times. Skipping ahead to 'The Palace at 4 a.m.', it's pop music that aspires toward a sound that sounds like Phil Spector got ahold of the production strings, that although not quite a wall of sound, does feature a slight bit more echo in the recording. 'Changeling', 'Elemental', and 'Young Atlantis' continue to explore the more serious tone of his pop sophistication pursuits which does make a strong arguement for the existence of solo persona. I was thoroughly engrossed with the album's consistency but maybe most of all because it's a strong reminder how good Zumpano were. 'Get Guilty' concludes defiantly with 'All Of My Days And All Of My Days Off' a collective noise of vocals and band instrumentation that retreats back to the New Porns sound that we know and love - you know, just to let us know that he hasn't given up on them.

A.C. Newman plays Lee's Palace with opener Dent May tomorrow night. I might just make it down there.

Video: A.C. Newman - "The Changeling" (The DUMBO sessions)
Video: A.C. Newman - "The Palace at 4 a.m." (The DUMBO sessions)
Video: A.C. Newman - "Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer" (The DUMBO sessions)

MySpace: A.C. Newman

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