Music Review: A.C. Newman – Get Guilty

Similar to A.C. Newman’s previous solo release, The Slow Wonder,Get Guilty is full of immediately exciting, catchy and gritty pop/rock gems.  Both are the sorts of albums that you enjoy on first listen, but can feel you are going to love after several listens more.  Get Guilty doesn’t quite live up to this promise, but is nevertheless worth any investment.  Get Guilty also doesn’t expand Newman’s sound dramatically, but it doesn’t suffer from sounding as though it’s all been done before.

Most of the songs are characterized by romping layers of organic, lush guitars reminiscent of The Hold Steady, and melodies that could be supposed to have been influenced by anyone from The Beatles to Modest Mouse.  Newman vocally offers us no moments of rest, nor should he.  He carries the air that he’s going somewhere noteworthy with  each lyric, and although this isn’t always the case, it nevertheless keeps the listener engaged and coming back for more.

A few songs, especially “Thunderbolt” and to a lesser extent “The Changeling (Get Guilty)”, suffer from being too simple and straightforward.  They make little attempt to go anywhere melody-wise, and on “Thunderbolt” Newman doesn’t even attempt to cover up the simplicity with noise as he does on “The Changeling (Get Guilty)”.  The songs are catchy, but not enough that they warrant such simplicity.  However, they are evenly spaced enough that do manage to serve a purpose in adding variety to a collection of songs that otherwise sound almost too consistent.

Overall, Get Guilty is a fun rock album worth several listens that you can expect to get a lot out of if you enjoyed The Slow Wonder .  As long as you don’t expect to get more out of it than is immediately apparent, it will prove to be worthy of mention in A.C. Newman’s succesful career.

Final Score: 8.1/10

Highlights: The Heartbreak Rides, Prophets, The Palace at 4 AM, The Collected Works

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