For this review I plan on writing about three things: The New Pornographers, summer, and my last week of school (specifically a History of Macroeconomics final). So, for those of you who just want a quick little review, here it is: A.C. (wait, actually, it's Carl, but that's not the point) Newman's debut solo effort The Slow Wonder is a brilliant little summer album. That's basically all you need to know, but here's the real beef of the review.
A.C. Newman has a voice that many of you will remember from Canada's indie-pop supergroup, The New Pornographers, which consists of Neko Case, Dan Bejar, and Newman. His work on their albums is arguably the strongest of all vocalists in the band, and as such his solo work results in inevitable comparisons to that group's efforts. Newman's solo offering is much more power-pop than the New Pornographers' at times lazy and dreamy pop songs. Many of the songs are similar, though, and listeners might expect Neko Case to pop up out of nowhere and begin chiming in on the gorgeous harmonies Newman creates.
These harmonies and enjoyable songs that Newman sings are a perfect fit for the bright summer days that most people are probably enjoying right now. There is just something about Newman's optimistic, bright, and inoffensive lyrics that encourage a drive around town in the sun, or just having fun with friends at a BBQ. Each summer, a great album comes a long that is able to epitomize the days of summer (last summer was maybe the Exploding Hearts), and this is it. It is an album that is able to represent the physical day - maybe not your specific mood, but the bright days in front of you.
On my last day of school I had a final that was actually pretty important to me; if I failed it, I basically failed the class. Needless to say, I was kind of stressing. To add to that, twenty minutes before the final, I realized I forgot a blue book. I was pretty rushed to find one. Suffice it to say, what kept me somewhat grounded was this silly album. In a time of quite a bit of stress, I was able to put this on and it actually calmed me down quite a bit. Again, with Newman's inescapable pop-harmonies, and bright lyrics, I was able to make it through those twenty minutes of stress. That's not to say that the album was a "life saver," or anything, but it was just able to provide a kind of summertime grounding that was actually needed at that time.
8.7 / 10
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