Don’t worry if A.C. Newman’s solo career confuses you. Usually, when a frontman for a successful band — in this case Vancouver’s The New Pornographers —releases a solo album, it often sounds much different from the guy’s day job. But not so with Newman, whose rich, Beach Boys-like pop stylings appears on everything he touches. Plus, to him, every record he releases comes from the same place.
“I think Get Guily is a louder record than Challengers is,” says Newman, comparing his latest solo effort to his last New Pornographers record in the same breath. “I think I’m always trying to change it up, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Pornographers album or not.”
Clearly, he doesn’t view his New Pornographers-self as separate from his solo career. And, while Neko Case and Dan Bejar aren’t singing on Get Guilty — Newman’s second album sans supergroup — it’s still got the same harmony laden tracks and sunny upbeat vibe that’s made the now New York-based songwriter’s band what it is.
So, if his own material isn’t that different from his band’s music, why put out a solo album at all? “There is no really good reason for it,” he says. “I just do it because I can.”
Newman points out that he wrote his first album — 2004’s Slow Wonder — after thinking The New Pornographers were breaking up. Neko Case decided to embark on her own solo career, which meant his band wasn’t touring. Instead of waiting around, he recorded Slow Wonder during the time off.
This time, however, Get Guilty, was written so he could “record the next New Pornographers record with a clean start in my head.
“I wrote it as kind of a palate cleaning,” he explains further. “It’s hard to describe, but for some reason, at the end of making Challengers, I decided I was going to write a solo record. There’s one song on the disc that I started writing while the Pornographers were mixing. I left the studio and played it into my phone.”
As he’s talking Newman, again, wonders aloud why he decided to record another solo album, as if he just realized that it’s somewhat redundant. “There’s not really any logic to this,” he remarks. “I guess it seemed too soon to do another Pornos record.”
But, logistically, it did make more sense for him to create a non-NP album, considering who else is releasing a record this year.
“I wanted to make sure the Pornos and Neko don’t put out records near each other,” he says, finally hitting on the most rational explanation for releasing a solo album. “If this had been a Pornographers record it would have been out in January and Neko’s record would have been out two months later. She can feel free to stomp all over my solo album, but the Pornos and Neko shouldn’t conflict with each other.”