The majority of the listening world will know A.C. Newman by his other gig in New Pornographers. This new effort, released by Matador Records, isn’t far off from the land of his pop-supergroup, especially when one looks back at an album like Challengers.
From the minute “There are Maybe Ten or Twelve” takes off you can tell exactly the direction that this album is going to go. It’s a subdued number, with high volume interludes, but the focus remains predominantly on Newman’s voice.
An album such as this is blessed by such a voice, as his is one that remains truly unique in this modern age. He can go higher than most, while he brings it all back again to his normal singing voice. In all his recordings, this is clearly the best he has sounded, which may owe a lot to remarkable production.
Keeping that in mind, most will settle with this album, knowing that your expectations will be met precisely. Melodies will rise and fall, being matched at every corner, but, the pace isn’t exactly pushing listeners forward, looking for more from each song. In fact, the only song that picks up any speed is “The Palace at 4 A.M.” Still, you can sit through this album in it’s entirety with a great deal of enjoyment; it’s just not going to grab you like other tracks A.C. Newman has done in the past, especially those featuring a certain Destroyer. Be sure to get through until the end for “All of my Days & All of my Days Off” is probably one of the best songs he’s written in years.
All in all, you come to the end of the album with one clear realization: A.C. Newman can spit out pop genius no matter where he is in his life. Each song is interesting, in both melody and structure, as he often uses his voice to carry the songs, which is precisely where the whole album began. It’s not every day when you come across a musician who can win you over with his voice alone. And for that, we should all Get Guilty.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/01-there-are-maybe-ten-or-twelve.mp3]
Download: AC Newman – There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve [MP3]