'Shut Down The Streets' (LP/CD/digital) is the most powerful and personal solo work to date from the New Pornographers' founder. While Newman long ago staked a claim for being one of North America's finest pop craftsmen, 'Streets' represents a change in tone and a bigger change in subject matter. A year of joy and sorrow in the Newman household has inspired an album of understated elegance and strength. Fantastic lyrical chops and musical invention aren't new territory for Carl, but writing so directly about the most important events in his adult life certainly are.
Recorded in Woodstock, NY (and featuring longtime colleague Neko Case), 'Streets' bears the influence of classic '70s folk and pop songwriters ranging from Gerry Rafferty to "Daylight Katy"-period Gordon Lightfoot. Summoning lush sonics with sweeping string & synth backgrounds that are miles away from The New Pornographers' signature sound, 'Shut Down The Streets' is brutally honest, open and affecting in a way Newman has rarely been in the past.
The album begins with "I'm Not Talking" (also the first single which you can listen to here) - a delicately blissful song about being "in a strange in-between space where the things I had always strived for - perfect happiness, success, being the best at what I do - were suddenly not nearly as important as just holding onto what I had," as he puts it, and ends with the saddest, most direct and heartbreaking song he's ever written.