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A.C. Newman - Get Guilty

Released on Matador/Last Gang Records, 1/20/09

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Get Guilty, the second solo release from A.C. Newman, perhaps better known for fronting pop sensations The New Pornographers, recruits the help of Jon Wurster (Superchunk/Mountain Goats), Mates of State and Nicole Atkins to help develop a sound both vastly immense and explicitly precise. There is a certain amount of familiarity within the song structures and lyrical flow, something any New Pornographers fan would recognize, but where that project would have let the dramaticism of the song take the lead, Newman is able to bridle this emotion into something more intimate, something more real.

The first single, “The Palace At 4 A.M.”, has a driving back beat, and an almost carol-like feel to the background vocal chorus and chiming pianos. “Prophets” builds quickly into a strong refrain and stays solid and consistent throughout the peaks and breaks. Much of the album keeps this momentum going, energetic to the core, dynamic through and through. Newman seems to further expand upon his strengths and work through his weaknesses as a songwriter and lyricist on Get Guilty, pulling the listener further into his own creative process.

And while at times I would prefer the smoke and mirrors to remain, the stumbles to be touched-up in post-production, Newman allows the listener into his own vulnerability, exposing someone wholly human, and extremely talented.