A.C. Newman – The Slow Wonder
Acquried: Love Garden, Used, 2008
Coming smack between Electric Version and Twin Cinema, this might be at the peak of Newman's songwriting prowess. Both of those records are incredible. This record is incredible. It seemed slight at first, barely coming in at 30 minutes, but on repeat listening I realized that this is pop genius at work. The songs all come in around 3 minutes and never over stay their welcome. It's almost got a Bob Pollard aesthetic to it. Though Newman has always been a bit more indulgent than Pollard, here he cuts through the bullshit and presents 11 fantastic tunes. It highlights his forthcoming penchant for balladry on the brilliant “Come Crash” and the fine “The Cloud Prayer,” yet also concocts some of his most perfect songs with “35 in the Shade,” the 3-note-guitar-solo bearing “Miracle Drug” and the cello-driven “The Town Halo.” Yet, this record stands on its own. Rather than an in-between records solo project, or rather than the solo album from that guy from the New Pornographers, this is just fuckin' AC Newman and it's great. I initially trashed The Slow Wonder's follow-up, this year's Get Guilty and then later retracted my opinions, though I never changed the KJ review. Which I feel mildly bad about. Because I ended up listening to that record a lot for some reason and decided it was pretty great.