NEWMAN - THE ELEGANCE MACHINE
Review by: Justin Hulford (www.therocktologist.com)
Produced by: Newman
Label: AOR Heaven
Newman returns and had set himself a very high bar with Under
Southern Skies in 2011 before almost reaching it with Siren in
2013. Surely that sort of momentum couldn’t be maintained?
Well it’s foot full to the floor
with the upbeat “The Suit (Skyscraper)” to start and
all the Newman essentials appear to be here again. There’s
tonnes of energy and some interesting changes to the sound as
this progresses, the intricate keys start to “The Elegance
Machine” a great example of that.
You often fear that a big album start
will lead to a dip later on but it never manifests - the level
is high from the beginning and it’s maintained, almost effortlessly.
Guitars are huge, the vocals soar and the beat is great throughout.
So why haven’t we all got the Newman
name to the fore? I simply don’t understand. This is excellent
stuff and easily comparable to the much better known FM who I
saw recently at a festival. There are more hooks than a fishing
trip and some of the lyrics are worth listening to on their own.
This is almost as good as melodic rock
The Elegance Machine
by MarcusTheRocker at 07 September 2015, 10:11 AM
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What pops into your head when you hear the words Britain and Melodic
Rock? I’m sure your response to that will be something like,
I didn’t think the Brits did Melodic Rock. For a while I
would have agreed with you as I’m usually used to hearing
a mixture of Heavy Metal, Classic Rock and Hard Rock from the
Brits and Melodic Rock from the Europeans i.e. Sweden, so naturally
I don’t usually associate the Melodic Rock genre with the
UK. Maybe that will change today with the subject of this review
which is a new British Melodic Rock album which comes from a band
who go by the name of NEWMAN.
Forming in 1997, this British Melodic Rock
& AOR band is fronted by Steve Newman who is the main songwriter
in the band as well as handling all guitars, vocals and keyboards
on his albums along with various other musicians who have handled
duties such as keyboards, bass and drums.
The current studio line-up is Steve on
vocals, guitars and keyboards and Rob McEwen who has handled drumming
duties since 2006. When playing live, the band features musicians
such as Pete Newdeck on drums, Shaun Bessant on guitar, Paul Boyle
on keyboards and Dave Bartlett on bass.
Having already released a total of 10 successful
albums under their belt which includes the 2014 re-record/re-release
of their first album, it’s time for NEWMAN to release album
number 11 and that will be the main focus of this review.
The new album, entitled “The Elegance
Machine” is 12 brand new tracks of British Melodic Rock
& AOR music which has been written and produced once again
by the team of Steve Newman and Rob McEwen with guest appearances
by Geoff Wootton and Mark-Thompson Smith who provide additional
backing vocals on a few songs each.
Clocking in at around 56 minutes long,
the new album from this British based band is one of those CD’s
that you never want to put down or stop listening to as with each
new track that is blasted into your ears, you are treated to some
Although this is the only NEWMAN album
I have heard so far, I’m hoping it’s not my last as
this has gotten me intrigued and interested into checking out
the previous albums so I can see for myself just how good the
songs were even on the older albums as I did find myself really
liking these new songs.
From the opening melodies of the albums
opener “The Suit (Skyscraper)” to the beautiful melodies
of the closing song “Scars”, this is definitely one
of those albums that no matter how many times you hear it, not
only will it never get old or boring but you will find yourself
loving it more and more with every listen.
Then again, a lot of great Melodic Rock
& AOR bands are capable of doing just that which is writing
albums that become quick favorites even after the first listen,
and will make you love it the more you listen to it, as the catchy
melodies and the beautiful songwriting will make you come back
for more every time.
This album just happens to be one of those
that becomes more amazing every time you hear it as there are
a lot of like-able tracks on this such as the awesome title track
“The Elegance Machine”, the heavy hard hitting “Illuminate”,
the chilled and relaxed “Halo”, the epic “Prayer
for Apollo”, the melodic “Don’t Stay Lonely”,
the catchy “Pretender Surrender” and everything else
I think the reason the songs sound as good
as they do is because it focuses on a few key themes in some of
the songs, such as greed and domestic violence among others. As
you listen to these songs over and over, some of these concepts
really do make you think hard about the world we live in today.
Another good reason these songs sound amazing
is all down of course to the strong songwriting and production
techniques which are both designed to work with each other to
bring out the best in the melodies.
As you listen to this, you get a clear
sense of this unity, as the excellence of the clean production
means that no matter how many times you listen to the songs, they
will never get old as you will always be able to enjoy every little
aspect of the songs including the guitar riffs, the bass riffs
and drum beats from the rhythm section, the melodic keyboards
and of course the powerful and amazing vocal performance as well.
Bottom line, the new album from NEWMAN
is yet another prime example of why I love the Melodic Rock &
AOR genre as you can create some fantastic and amazing songs that
will never get old no matter how often you hear them and this
is one of those albums and bands that proves that theory. If you
love Melodic Rock, AOR music, British Rock/Metal or are familiar
with the music of NEWMAN then you will not be disappointed as
this is one fantastic album.
NEWMAN - THE EEGANCE MACHINE review 91%
Another of the hard working regulars of
this scene is one Steve Newman. And he’s consistently delivered
quality music year after year and is at it once again on The Elegance
Picking up where they left off with Siren,
this album holds the same musical outlook that The Art Of Balance
and Under Southern Skies both did.
So you know what you are going to get –
a collection of punchy, guitar and keyboard driven melodic rock
songs, with Steve’s distinctive voice and his layered harmony
And as usual the album mixes uptempo harder
tunes like The Suit, Illuminate and Confess alongside commercial
melodic rock such as The Elegance Machine, Pretender Surrender
and Send Us Salvation.
Moody tracks such as Halo and She Walks
In Silence are balanced between the appearance of two cracking
AOR numbers Don’t Stay Lonely and One Good Reason.
What I’m really enjoying on this
album is the warmth of Steve’s voice on a few of the tracks
(The Elegance Machine and Prayer For Apollo in particular).
Speaking of which, Prayer For Apollo is
brilliant – this is a quirky track with a haunting intro
and a brilliant anthemic chorus. A definite instant highlight.
Another winning slice of British classic
melodic rock and AOR from one of the genre’s most reliable
writers. If you own one, you must own them all. Now go get this
Andrew McNeice - melodicrock.com
– ‘Siren’ album review
Released on: AOR Heaven. Release date: Available now
here we have the latest and greatest release from Newman, 'Siren'
is in fact the tenth studio release from the band and yes, Steve
Newman and ‘friends’ have conjured up something magical
thing I have always enjoyed about when Steve puts out a Newman
album is he is always consistent and I for one have yet to be
disappointed by the project.
as I’m sure Steve will hate me saying this, Newman has really
– At least in the studio. – always been just that,
a project as he’s pretty much had different people involved
each time, with the exception of one mainstay on drums –
I guess the one instrument Steve really does not play, although
I’m sure he could! – in Rob McEwen for the past five
He’s the guy is who Steve has always called upon to play
on each album since the 2006 release ‘Heaven Knows’
and I must say, he’s always done a fine job by me!
Steve has yet to call upon his full live band to perform on a
Newman release, but I guess if you can pretty much do it all yourself,
go for it!
this release though, Steve has got other input by calling upon
first, from his live band Shaun Bessant for some guitar work on
one song, also to Robert Sall (Work of Art / W.E.T.) to co-write
another of the songs here. Two other contributors here are Newman’s
new live band drummer Pete Newdeck (Eden’s Curse) for co-writes
on two songs and to another old friend in Nick Workman (Vega,
Kick) on another.
you’ve been a fan of previous Newman releases, then I’m
certain you’ll love this, as I hear elements from various
aspects of his previous releases across the board and perhaps
as more of an added bonus, the focus is less on ballads / slower
paced tracks and more on up tempo numbers.
to open these twelve tracks, is the storming ‘Scar of Love,’
which kicks things off in a similar rockin’ fashion to say
the likes of ‘Heaven Knows,’ or ‘Hero To Zero,’
just rocks like a good ‘un, pummeling double kick drums,
huge chorus, great riffs …, you get the picture …
Nice start Steve!
Enough’ has actually become one of my absolute favourites
on the album through repeated plays and you know, it almost brings
to mind a little of what Steve captured on his very first Newman
album, back in ‘98.
Maybe I’m just a nostalgia freak! LOL!
It’s got great production value, just a really wonderful
sound that stays pretty simple through the verses, but then the
chorus is just so rich. Wonderful!
perhaps because Steve has kept a lot of simplicity in the song
structure, something that when you really strip down what Def
Leppard do, you realize that the songs themselves from the band,
are pretty simple and there’s a lot to be said for that,
when it comes to writing hook lines / catchy choruses.
I come to mention Def Leppard – And Steve will probably
hate me for this, but … - next song ‘Arcadia’
gives a little nod perhaps, not only to perhaps ‘Hysteria’
but maybe John Waite’s ‘Missing You,’ in its
No bad thing, familiarity works great for many folks, but I am
only saying ‘similar’ not rip off, as all three songs
mentioned of course completely have their own identity.
Bitch Of A Night,’ is certainly a more edgy track certainly
throughout the verses, but then comes the chorus and yes, great
harmonies and rich sounding, then the bridge takes you somewhere
else with some nice twists.
song ‘Feel Her Again’ is simply classic Newman from
the building intro to the slick verse and strong chorus once more.
Some great changes here and there and Steve calls upon Work of
Art’s Robert Säll for the ‘guest’ guitar
Nicely done indeed, a solo Steve would be proud of.
Kind of Wondeful’ starts as strong as the opener ‘Scar
…’ It just races out of the starting blocks and has
another edgy approach to it, almost punky in Steve’s vocal
in places, then it almost reminds me a little of something like
Toto in their heavier moments. Kind of clever …
track ‘Siren’ kind of creeps up on you from its start
and then the chorus hits and Steve does it again, winner! There’s
certainly classic Newman about this too where I’m reminded
of ‘Heaven Knows’ and even ‘Art of Balance’
To a degree, but then Steve pulls out some great interplay with
keys too, nice touches and …, next please!
‘When It Comes To Love’ Steve brings his live band
guitarist Shaun Bessant to provide the lead solo here. It’s
one of those songs that build and just really comes into its own,
from a very familiar sounding opening riff and then it eases back
through the verse and then grows in the chorus and then goes back
and forth from easy verses into the up tempo choruses and there’s
a little edginess in the bridge, that’s followed by the
rather tasty solo from Mr. Bessant. It's just magic stuff!
seems to be classic Newman, but I really think there’s a
very Journey like vibe to this song, certainly very much so through
the chorus phrasing. The underlying musical interplay through
the verses and pre-choruses is also very modern day Journey like
There’s quite a bit of layering about ‘Crossfire’
too, really nice, there's almost a likeness to ‘One Step
Closer’ here and there too. Good 'un!
quite a different feel / vibe altogether through the verses in
‘Waiting For The Day To Come’ although there are little
elements not unlike ‘Primitive Soul’ at times as well.
I do like the - albeit too brief – harmony guitar part in
the last third of the song, but there’s obviously a lot
more to it. It’s a relatively mid tempo number, with some
edginess but still plenty of melody.
It’s all good by me …
to the albums only true ballad, power ballad that is, made clear
by the heavy piano presence. It's something that Steve has certainly
mastered in his writing, not just 'the art of balance,' but the
art of ballads too! Ha! Sorry, a little cheesy pun there!
The solo in ‘The Foolish One,’ here is to die for,
magic Steve, absolute gem mate!
funny as I mentioned on ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ that
Steve had captured elements of Toto’s heavier moments in
that song, well, there’s a heavy, kind of Toto feel about
final track here ‘I Don’t Know Why,’ right down
to some very Luke - Steve Lukather - like guitar moments, but
the keyboard touches are right there with some of Toto’s
It’s a great closing track it really is, very strong indeed
in such a way that it sounds like an epic track yet it’s
under five minutes long. Love it!
I said at the start, the thing with Newman the band or Newman
the man is that it’s consistent and that’s not bad.
may bring different guest players in, but for the most part, it
is Steve Newman singer / songwriter / guitarist / all-round musician
and producer to boot and he has not released an average album
yet, let alone a bad one!!
hat’s off to you again Steve, you really do put so much
time and attention to detail into your work and just ignore the
doubters, clearly based on the gigs in recent years that the band
is picking up, I’m not the only one recognizing that this
talent deserves praise.
It’s a winner by me, no doubt!
4.75 out of 5
Williams - Chambers Of Rock
Everything you want from a melodic rock
record including those massive sing-along choruses that we have
come to expect from Newman
‘Siren’ is the tenth studio
album from Newman and I’m desperately trying to avoid saying
“His best album ever!” because I’m going to
start sounding like a broken record, but every inch of me wants
to scream it! I’ve been a big fan of Steve ever since his
debut; he has been a consistently strong song writer and over
the years has produced not just some great albums but also some
of my favourite songs of all time.
Again with ‘Siren’ Steve has
given us another album with its own style and flavour, a little
heavier but still commercial and extremely melodic. The songs
have a really fresh feel to them, there’s a lot of energy
and urgency that earmarks many of them for the live arena. One
of Steve’s strengths is on show again in his lyrics: he
always shows much more depth than many others and he never shies
away from venturing outside of the standard melodic rock subjects.
This gives some songs more substance than you would hear on the
standard melodic rock album. Check out title track and also ‘Crossfire’
for great examples of outside the box lyrics.
Steve has a great emotive vocal style and
it gives his lyrics a genuinely believable feel to them, and on
songs like ‘Feel Her Again’, ‘Arcadia’
and ‘The Foolish One’ it generates a really powerful,
lasting impression. ‘Feel Her Again’ is probably the
most commercial song here and it has already made my 3am playlist.
It’s lyrically quite a dark song dealing with loss but the
upbeat feel of the chorus makes it really cathartic. ‘Siren’
does see Steve in full on rocker mode and it is less introspective
and emotional than ‘Under Southern Skies’, but the
connections and that relatable touch is still ever present, just
this time you want to do some head banging and strap on your air
keytar! I’m fully expecting full on rockers ‘Scar
Of Love’, ‘Had Enough’, ‘Some Kind Of
Wonderful’ and ‘Another Bitch Of A Night’ to
become firm favourites with live audiences. I have to also mention
‘When It Comes To Love’, a song co-written with Vega’s
Nick Workman which is another stunning collaboration from the
pair: I absolutely adore Nick’s atmospheric harmony vocals
on the verses which make this a really chilling song!
‘Siren’ is another killer album
from Newman with many songs destined for the live arena as suggested
above. It’s pretty much everything you want from a melodic
rock record including those massive sing-along choruses that we
have come to expect from Newman. Steve’s a true unsung hero
of the melodic rock genre and has yet again delivered a fantastic
album, so go on do your ears a favour, buy it and play it loud!
Woody - Rocktopia
Steve Newman is back with a new mighty
fine album filled with rockin´melodic rock/AOR and a great
follow up to Under Southern Skies (2011). This new album is slightly
tougher than his previous album with more crunchy guitars with
heavier riffs but very melodic. So if your own copies of his earlier
work then this is an album that won´t dissapoint you. Just
listen to the start of the album with the great rocker Scar Of
Lover that follows by the fantastic AOR tune Had Enough with riff
strong guitars and a huge chorus. Arcadia is a nice mid-tempo
rocker with rich of melodies and a chorus that reminds a bit of
Dare. The powerful chorus on Another Bitch Of A Night is fantastic,
it´s filled with brilliant hooks and tough riffs. Some Kind
Of Wonderful sounds like a song that Erik Martensson could have
written. It´s filled with heavy melodic riffs and big hooklines
and a catchy powerful chorus, great stuff. The Foolish One is
the only ballad on the album, a nice pianobased song with lovely
melodies and a strong chorus. The album ends with the fantastic
AOR-rocker Don´t Know Why that even includes some dut-dut
keyboards/piano and great guitars. This songs has some Foreigner
written over it with a stunning chorus with nice background vocals.
Siren is a awesome album and it could be Newman´s best album
so far. So don´t hesitate to get this album if your into
melodic rock/AOR. There´s also nice guests on the album,
such as Robert Sall (Work Of Art, W.E.T), Pete Newdeck (Eden´s
Curse) and Nick Workman (Vega).
Juha Harjula - Melodic.net
One of the unsung heroes of the UK melodic
rock scene for a decade and a half now, Steve Newman has through
a variety of bands illustrated his talents as a songwriter, guitarist
and singer. However it is through the act which takes his name
where those skills shine brightest. Siren is, unbelievably, Steve's
ninth studio album as Newman and his second with melodic specialists
AORHeaven. It is also an album which maintains the burning hot
run of form the Englishman and his band has been on since 2010's
simply stunning The Art Of Balance.
Cleverly Newman the band have never stuck to a formula, instead
using the full array of colours available in the melodic rock
sphere to offer up albums that vary enough from each other to
have their own distinct characters, while being immediately distinguishable
as the band they are. Siren is no exception, combining aspects
of previous Newman efforts, while continuing to push into new
ground. Resulting in an album that is both fresh and invigorating,
while also sounding like the best friend you've known for many
"Scar Of Love" starts things
off in surprisingly scything fashion, with a machine gun riff
and smack of drums leading into something veering into more metal
than rock, Steve immediately laying down an authoritative vocal.
However when the harmonies take over for the chorus, the welcome
Newman trademark sound greets you with arms open. It is a great
opener and while the urgency isn't quite repeated as you get to
know the other tracks on Siren, the effect is the same. "Had
Enough" infuses a staccato riff with an equally jabbing vocal,
while "Arcadia" provides the first genuine sing along
of the album, even while it takes the tempo down to melodic mid-paced
swayer. Then factor in the brooding title track where an atmospheric
verse alludes to Magnum, while a super melodic chorus offers up
a far brighter mood, "Waiting For The Day" where the
main riff ducks and dives and "Crossfire" which is fuelled
by a punchy main riff, poised slow sections and another heartfelt
vocal and Siren really is an eclectic yet focused collection which
never hits wide of the mark.
Guitarist Shaun Bessant not only bolsters
Steve's own guitar contribution, but through numerous fiery solos
infuses Siren with a real sense of energy and vitality, while
keyboard player Paul Boyle lays down the melody from which much
of that guitar work springs from. However it is the contribution
from new drummer Pete Newdeck (Eden's Curse - and vocalist in
Tainted Nation) that really stands out, with his mix of no nonsense
snare bursts and clever kick drum work adding a real weight to
songs already capable of landing fairly and squarely in the memory
If you've never sampled the delights that
Newman have to offer, you really can delve into this band's catalogue
at any stage and be impressed with what you find. However Siren
is as good as anything Newman have produced before, if not better
and on that basis what better starting point could you have?
Steven Reid - Sea of Tranquility
Review by: Alan Holloway
Are you ready to rock? Of course you are, or you wouldn’t
be reading this. One person who is ready, willing and able is
Steve Newman, the vocalist, guitarist and general head honcho
of Newman. This is a man who knows the cardinal rule of rock music:
if you name the band after yourself you can’t get fired.
“Siren” is the ninth full album since 1998, and it’s
been two years since the very well received “Under Southern
Skies”, with no reason to suspect that the new disc won’t
be afforded a similar reaction.
As usual, Newman himself does the lions share of the work, partnered
up with his usual drummer Rob McEwen. Tourring guitarist Shaun
“Da Prawn” Bessaant and Robert Sall both get a track
each to show off their own guitar skills, but this is the Newman
show, make no mistake. As ever, it’s an incredibly solid
offering, full of hard hitting melodic rock, more guitar than
keyboards and full of Newman’s standard ‘take no prisoners’
attitude. His vocals are as good as ever, and the clean production
(by Steve himself, natch) really allows the songs to stand out.
The stall is set out with opener “Scar Of Love”, an
immediately catchy track with a cool, angry guitar riff. Much
like opener “Hero To Zero” from 2010’s “Balance”
album, it doesn’t let up, although thankfully on this album
there’s no annoying (and poinyless) intro, as we’re
straight into the action with no twatting about. There’s
a couple of slower tracks toward the end, and whilst “When
It Comes To Love” is a great, powerful ballad, “The
Foolish One” tends to drag a little. That said, it’s
the only track of the twelve on offer that does, and it does have
a great solo which helps.
will naturally delight existing Newman fans, and with any luck
will win him some new ones. It’s up there with his best
work, with this and the last two albums all coming over very strongly
indeed as quality hard melodic rock. If you like melodic rock
that has a little bite to it and doesn’t have songs about
cruising down highways then Newman is pretty much a must have,
as with “Siren” his winning streak continues unabated.