New Pornographer jumps into classic singer-songwriter stream head first

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AC Newman – The Slow Wonder

As lynchpin of Zumpano and later The New Pornographers, Vancouver’s Carl Newman has a talent for ingenious left turns. On his debut solo album, he pays homage to the quirkier balladeer school. Sunnily arranged, “Miracle Drug” whips itself into an anthem, while the orchestrated “Cloud Prayer” and the moody “Most Of Us Prize Fighters” could have been standouts on the Pornographers’ Electric Version album. Crafty and clean-cut, Newman is a credit to an overlooked art; a big, baroque fusion of sharp garage, paisley pop and ’70s sleekness, finished with a coating of Terry Jacks sentiment. “Rock with good songs” was Newman’s simple demand. He’s delivered.