The Slow Wonder
Released June 8 2004
You might know A.C. Newman as Carl Newman, the spry redheaded leader of the New Pornographers. That band puts Newman’s brilliant songs in the hands of a varied crew of insanely talented pals; with his debut solo outing, The Slow Wonder, Newman’s own talents take center stage, showcasing him as a classic, if eccentric, songwriter, part of a lineage that includes Ray Davies, Johnny Rivers, Harry Nilsson, Colin Blunstone, Dave Edmunds, Andy Partridge, Wayne Coyne, Ben Folds, Britt Daniel, or any other number of guys he doesn’t exactly sound like but with whom Carl could readily match wits.
The Slow Wonder has a beautifully open and uplifting feel, even as its lyrics often subvert the sunny vibe. Musically, too, the melodies and arrangements take unexpected detours which give the songs more depth with each listen. There’s a sentimental streak in the soaring epic “Secretarial” and gorgeous ballad “Cloud Prayer” (complete with trumpet solo). Elsewhere, “Miracle Drug” is a wickedly frisky guitar number, and “The Battle For Straight Time” echos the maximalism of his New Pornos work, while “Better Than Most” dials the clock back to Graham Parker’s late-70s quirks.
The Slow Wonder is an incredible breath of fresh air – 34 minutes of the best life affirming power pop you’ve EVER heard.