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The Slow Wonder

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Editors’ Notes

New Pornographers fans who adore Carl Newman's hyperkinetic pop-rock style will find his first solo jaunt, The Slow Wonder, a must. Newman here tones down his Dadaist lyric leanings for a few metaphorical moments. The opener, "Miracle Drug," plays like a sunnier version of Steely Dan narratives such as "With a Gun," while "Come Crash" is a slow, floating track that could be a collaboration between Todd Rundgren and Big Star-era Alex Chilton (think "Hello It's Me" if it'd been on the latter's Sister Lovers) More introspective than his work with the New Pornographers, Slow Wonder is nonetheless packed with hooks and sure to draw in sympathetic listeners.

Customer Reviews

Masterful Songwriting

For those who are familiar with The New Pornographers, you will not be disappointed. "The Slow Wonder" is a little-known gem, a masterpiece from beginning to end. Although it's not your mainstream rock with your clichê guitar riffs, it's very catchy in its own right, and the lyrics are unique to anything found in most rock music today. You can find a little bit of everything here. "On the Table" is full of energy and has a great rhythm, perhaps the strongest song on the album. "Drink to Me, Babe, Then" has an addictive whistling interlude woven into a largely acoustic piece. "The Cloud Prayer" features a fantastic trumpet solo, and "The Town Halo" balances the rubato of the cello with powerful vocals. "The Slow Wonder" is, without a doubt, it is one of the best indie rock albums of 2004.

One of the great Indie-pop solo albums of all time.

Certainly A.C. Newman's ability to write dense, yet nimble & crunchy indie-pop anthems with more hooks than a bedroom closet doesn't need to be proven, since his songs form the bulk of Canadian power-poppers the New Pornographers' repetoire. No, what's on fine display here is his individual voice, comparatively relieved of the fusillade of instrumentation of the NP albums and allowed to breathe a bit more on his first solo outing. It's hard to choose standout tracks, since the record is so well crafted that even the low points on the album are above the bulk of most others in the genre; although, Newman is at his absolute best when the driving beat and infectious melodies pull you along like a rampaging thoroughbred. Without boast, this is a pop classic, destined to be one of those secret albums that will be pleasantly discovered over and over again.

Great for NP and non-NP fans alike.

In the last couple years I have become a huge New Pornographers fan so a natural step would be for me check out the collective members' solo efforts. I have one CD each from Neko Case, Dan Bejar's Destroyer, and A.C. Newman the last one being the best of the lot. Newman wrote a majority of the songs on the New Pornographers' recent album Twin Cinema (far and away my favorite album of 2005) but to compare it to Twin Cinema will only get you so far. The inventive lyrics and hooks are there on The Slow Wonder, but what's missing is a lot of the upbeat and frenetic energy that permeates throughout Twin Cinema. The closest you get to that kind of energy are the songs Miracle Drug and Secretarial. Still, this isn't a huge issue. The Slow Wonder is a very good album with plenty of hooks and little twists to keep you coming back for more. They're just a little more low key. In comparing The Slow Wonder to NP releases I'd probably rank this behind Mass Romantic and Twin Cinema, but slightly ahead of Electric Version. Get it!

Biography

Born: April 14, 1968

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Vancouver-based guitarist and singer/songwriter Allan Carl Newman broke into the Canadian music scene in the early '90s as a member of alternative rock/grunge outfit Superconductor. A longer stint with power pop group Zumpano followed in the mid-'90s, resulting in two well-received albums, Look What the Rookie Did and Goin' Through Changes, but it wasn't until Newman formed the New Pornographers in 2000 that his hook-filled guitar pop anthems became staples of the crowded 21st century indie rock...
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