Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

From his days fronting Zumpano to his breakthrough as the ringleader of The New Pornographers, Carl Newman has maintained a consistently catchy, busy sound, which he uses to evoke a mood that's simultaneously triumphant and a little oblique. Get Guilty is Newman's second album under the moniker "A.C.," and though it leans a little heavier on acoustic instruments, there isn't much difference between this record and those credited to The New Pornographers. Get Guilty is a stirring set of memorable power-pop, given a personal spin via Newman's habit of delivering hard-to-parse pronouncements, like some kind of mad-eyed, curiously convincing soothsayer. On Get Guilty, those pronouncements mostly have to do with the world that was, and how much Newman misses what he can remember of it. "We used to throw thunderbolts," he laments at one point, while later he recalls a charmed emptiness on "The Palace At 4 A.M." Newman can seem too disconnected at times, and sometimes his home brew of buzzy '60s garage-rock and beat-crazy art-pop doesn't fully ferment. But when he steps proudly on his pedestal to announce, with appealing pomp, "It is the devil you know / That will slam the door harder / Make of that what you will," what choice do Newman devotees have but to nod along, even if we have no idea what he means?


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