A.C. Newman is no stranger to those even with the slightest knowledge of the indie scene. He has been around since the ‘90s with his first band Superconductor but his real break came initially with Zumpano and especially at the start of the millennium with the acclaimed New Pornographers, where he’s been the true leader ever since. After recording two albums with the Pornographers, Newman managed to release his debut solo album back in 2004 titled The Slow Wonder. In a similarly timely fashion, after a couple more albums with his superband, he is back with his sophomore solo outtake (out January 2009 on Matador label).
Get Guilty is a showcase for Newman’s obvious talent to create memorable tunes with such an ease. The album kick offs with the grand entrance of opening track There are Maybe Ten or Twelve where Newman proclaims us to “make of that what you will” and sets the pace of what is to follow; a genuine indie trip that flirts more with pop rather than rock. Rhythm, simple guitar riffs and vocals on the forefront are definitely more dominant in this record as to Newman’s work with the New Pornographers. The album fits somewhere between the classic borders of power-pop and pop underground, leaning more on the first territory.
In general, Newman’s solo follow-up album is a classic power-pop album that has all the right elements but is lacking in the details. Most of the melodies are beautiful and instantly enjoyable; however they lack the depth that would make this album withstand the sands of time. Most of the tracks are based on a single guitar riff and the production is more on the minimalistic side, which unfortunately is evident in a number of songs. Newman’s lyrics remain witty as ever but also lack the depth as his compositions. If you put all these together, Get Guilty is a solid offering which however doesn’t add much to Newman’s already successful career and will easily be forgotten amongst his first solo attempt and the New Pornographer’s work (which we are expecting as well quite soon).