The solo debut from Carl Newman, leader of Vancouver power-pop supergroup The New Pornographers. With "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, Harry Nilsson, Colin Blunstone, Dave Edmunds, Andy Partridge, Ben Folds, and Britt Daniel. The results are predictably stunning -- a smart singer-songwriter pop record with a beautifully open and uplifting feel combined with lyrics that subvert and twist the sunny vibe. In contrast to the nonstop anthemic steamroll of the New Pornos, "The Slow Wonder" is full of space and surprise, running the gamut from ballads to frisky guitar numbers to Graham Parkeresque late '70s production quirks. A breath of fresh air.
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