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"The Slow Wonder"  A.C. Newman  Release date: 2004  Label: Matador Records

A.C. (Carl?) Newman's first stab at a solo outing is a welcome, if predictable addition to the great work he's done as the heart and soul of both Zumpano and The New Pornographers. Remember the first time you put on the Pornos "Mass Romantic?" This one won't give you that same head rush, but it packs a nice kind of late-summer, power pop punch. Newman's lyrics are still borderline ridiculous, and for this reviewer at least, pretty much indecipherable. That said, you'll sing along happily to what you think are the correct lyrics, and you can pretty much guarantee that some of these tracks will appear on an upcoming mix tape for some of your snobby music friends. I can almost hear all the people I used to work with at Virgin Records in Vancouver arguing in the lunch room over whether the cello solo that opens up "The Town Halo" is pretentious noodling or a work of unparalleled genius. The standout track is the excellent "Drink To Me Babe, Then" which suggests a new, more subdued direction for Newman. I wish he would have explored the possibilities for a little more of this type of variation here, as many of the tracks on "The Slow Wonder" are a little samey. Still, average tracks from A.C. Newman are better than no tracks from A.C. Newman, and this could be the soundtrack to your decent, if forgettable, summer of 2004. -Dave Mix, Aug.04.04.

A.C. Newman [The Slow Wonder] 2004 The Slow Wonder

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