Saturday, January 31, 2009

A.C. Newman: Get Guilty

Artist: A.C. Newman
Album: Get Guilty
Date Released: January 20, 2009
Genre: indie-pop, indie-rock
Rating: 7.0

Review: Though he is the driving force behind the New Pornographers, Carl Newman's latest solo effort, Get Guilty, reveals that the NP's are more than the sum of its parts; without his trusty collaborators, namely Daniel Bejar and Neko Case, Newman's characteristic sound and arrangements go from great to merely good.

Unlike Neko and Bejar, whose solo efforts are a radical departure from the NP's, Newman is content to put out an album that is startlingly uninspired. Get Guilty is nothing more than the New Pornographers Lite. There's very little here that one wouldn't find on a NP album, including eye-rollingly Nekoesque back-up vocals (provided by Kori Gardner of Mates of State and Nicole Atkins). A.C. Newman is clearly comfortable working within the bounds of his trusty formula, much to the frustration of those fans hoping to hear something a bit different.

But what prevents this album from being a outright disappointment is Newman's ability to craft likeable songs. "The Heartbreak Rides" and "Submarines of Stockholm" are great tracks and they are true stand-outs. Taken as a whole, however, Get Guilty lacks punchiness and it's predictability makes Get Guilty only so-so.

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