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 gets.
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 fantastic songwriting.
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 in between.
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 Machine.
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 style choruses.
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 latest opus.
Andrew McNeice - melodicrock.com
Newman – ‘Siren’ album review
So, 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 once again!
The 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.
Much 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 studio releases.
For 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.
If 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.
So 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
It’s 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.
Now 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 structure.
‘Another 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.
‘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 solo here.
‘Some 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 …
Title 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!
With ‘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 too.
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.
So 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!
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 best moments.
As 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.
He 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!!
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.
Rating: 4.75 out of 5
Alun 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.
"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 banks.
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?
NEWMAN - “Siren”
AOR Heaven 2013
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.
Newman: Under Southern Skies
Led by the namesake of the band, this is classy AOR. If you take Toto at its best and add a touch of Survivor, with the musicianship and songwriting to boot, then you are getting somewhere near what this bunch produces. Newman sounds comparable to Heartland, if a tiny bit more edgy--a bit like Giant with less of a hint of country. Classy and quality just ooze from the speakers as these guys do their thing. There is just something incredibly infectious about the songs on this release, an example of the ever increasing quality of releases from AOR label Heaven. Heaven is certainly a label that can rival Frontiers with this sort of release.
Newman is not some wet behind ears group of new wave AORsters, but a band that has been around since the late 90s churning out albums of AOR goodness. Steve Newman seems to be able to continue from strength to strength with this album building on the band's 2010 release.
This music might not be for everyone, but there is no denying the sheer quality of the output. This is not a bunch of musicians trying to recreate 80s AOR, but a band of musicians who know what it takes to make a contemporary-sounding AOR album
NEWMAN - Under Southern Skies
One of the UK’s best (and sadly most overlooked) melodic hard rock songwriters, Steve Newman has been a permanent, if somewhat understated presence on the scene since the emergence of his ‘Newman’ debut way back in ’97. Synonymous with hook laden, high end quality songs imbued with passion and emotion, of late the Newman brand has been increasingly in demand as a producer / engineer and songwriter for other acts; testament indeed to the esteem with which the man is increasingly held within the industry. Follow up to last year’s utterly compelling ‘The Art Of Balance’ opus, ‘Under Southern Skies’ once again delivers an eclectic yet cohesive mix of styles underpinned by a histrionic hard rock dynamic. Comprised of heart wrenching ballads juxtaposed with svelte arena rock anthems, this is just the latest in a long line of similar top grade releases which affirm the creative genius that is Steve Newman – if the guy was American he’d clean up (just like Desmond Child and Dan Huff)! From pulsating rockers like the emphatic ‘She’s Gone’ to slow burning mood setters such as ‘Fire With Fire’ the quality never waivers; expert arrangements and a vibrant sense of light and shade enhancing a set of melodies already steeped in the kind of longevity most can only dream of. For far too long we’ve been quick to embrace ‘safe’ foreign imports whilst overlooking the home-grown talent under our very noses. Time to reassess methinks because intelligently constructed, hard edged AOR with bags of crossover potential doesn’t come much better than ‘Under Southern Skies’ – truly excellent! (D.Cockett)
NEWMAN - UNDER SOUTHERN SKIES
new release shows off Steve’s uncanny knack of producing quality
hook laden, melodic rock and follows on nicely from the massive, in my
opinion any way, “The art of balance”.
Under Southern Skies AOR Heaven (2011)
Following on from the excellent Big Life album released earlier this year on the same label, Steve Newman returns with an album under his Newman banner. Although he has a live band, in the studio it is Steve on vocals/guitar/keys with drummer Rob McEwan, although live guitarist pops up on 'If He Loves You' to add a solo.
As you'd expect from a Newman album there are some top draw melodic rock gems, none more so than 'If He Loves You' - a massive chorus and damn fine guitar solos. 'Strength To Carry On' features another lift-you-up melody, how does he keep coming up with such high quality tunes?
'Montserrat' shows a new direction, being an mini-epic with the piano building the song up nicely, before heavy riffs join in and carry the song along. Be interesting to see if Steve Newman does more songs like this in the future.
Two great albums in one year involving Steve Newman, perfect for fans of his music and those after a high quality melodic rock album.
Review by Jason Ritchie
NEWMAN - UNDER SOUTHERN SKIES
Mr Steve Newman returns quickly to the Melodic Rock/AOR circle by following up what was one of his strongest albums to date “The Art of Balance” released just last year. This time around we have the album title “Under Southern Skies, which marks the 8th studio album from Newman since he got started back in 1997. Steve has been on a consistent tear of the scene over the last few years releasing some very solid melodic laden albums and this new one is no different. If you’re fan of AOR then you have probably known about Newman for a long time now, especially now he has been consider one of the most respected UK artists in the genre. With strong showings at Firefest and Cambridge Rock Festival over his career, which later followed a collaboration with Mark Thompson Smith on the acclaimed Big Life album, he has only added to his reputation.
Leave it for Steve to thrown down all arms and keep on trucking forward with another solid release. The album once again features Steve Newman on Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, and Rob McEwen taking on Drum responsibilities. There is also an appearance by Shaun Bessant playing Lead Guitar on the track “If He Loves You”.
So what can we expect here, well some you’ve heard before and some you may just like even after considering the fact that most of the songs have a high energy of melodious melancholy energy, with your normal AOR touches of brilliance. Something that Steve has mastered through the years.
As we get into the album we pick up on those same keyboard laden groovy AOR sounds we heard on the last album from Steve and company. The more straight forward “If He Loves You” has patented the build up hook as it eases its way into a melodic solo halfway through the track. The title track seems to plays more like a maturity in songwriting for Steve and Co, as the song progresses nicely with a more modern hard rock feel. The more typical stylistically sound of Steve comes out on the easy Sunday morning sounds of “Fire With Fire”, a simple laid back atmosphere tranquilizes the overall sound of this neat little track.
If you’re a friend of this traditional style then you will find enough to get you by, if you’re a fan of AOR/Melodic Rock there is so nice tunes here that will satisfy anybody who hungers for more music in the genre. Steve Newman is a cagy veteran, like people such as Stan Bush, Jim Jamison etc, all these guys can play this style of music in they’re dreams and Newman has had a nice career in the genre for a while now making consistent music. Although this time around the songs are more flat in structures, probably not enough high soaring chorus as in Art of Balance, not tone down the effort because Steve sounds great as always, just not up to the caliber of the last record. Still solid in my book and one that will satisfy the hunger of longtime fans.
Written by Denys
Ratings Denys 7/10
In the beginning of their career NEWMAN got compared with many other acts like STRANGEWAYS or DEF LEPPARD. Anno 2011 Steve Newman and his guys are a true reference themselves. No wonder, the British band has improved from album to album and developed a very own and confident sound. Latest proof is the band’s new longplayer “Under Southern Skies”. Compared with material on the quite heavy predecessor “The Art Of Balance”, the 11 new songs are a little softer and more AOR again. However, in terms of songwriting, arrangements and production the album shows no weak point. The highly dynamic and guitar-driven “Killing Me”, the epic and perfectly arranged “Under Southern Skies”, the slightly melancholic “Without Warning” and the balladesque “Fire With Fire” are AOR/Melodic Rock on a topnotch level. There are only a few new bands around who can keep up with that! I wouldn’t call “Under Southern Skies” better than “The Art Of Balance”, but it’s definitely on par. For the fans for NEWMAN it’s a sure thing and for all the other Melodic Rock fans it’s a must to check it out at least. I am sure that NEWMAN’s “Under Southern Skies” will find many friends!
Newman: Under Southern Skies
A respected producer in his own rite, it's no surprise that Steve has created an album with rich textures and wonderful sonics, however they key to its success is the fact that it is crammed with excellent songs and great arrangements. If you haven't caught up with the rich and rewarding music of Newman yet, Under Southern Skies is an excellent place to start.
Under Southern Skies (2011)
"Newman" is musician Steve Newman's pet project which runs alongside his production and writing work at his Blue Room studio in the UK. Apart from drums and the odd guitar solo, Steve performs everything on his albums and this one is no different. "Under Southern Skies" follows 2010's "The Art Of Balance", and is the first album to see Newman signed to a record label in years.
The sound is typical Newman, meaning big hearty vocals, a solid-as-a-solid-thing rhythm section and wonderful melodious guitars and keys. On past evidence Steve doesn't know how to make a bad album and nothing changes here. USS is full of memorable hard rocking tracks with more hooks than a fishing shop. If you had to pick one artist to have on your desert island with you, you could do a lot worse than this guy.
It's hard work picking best tracks as there isn't a duffer throughout, though the title track, the lovely 'Strength To Carry On', 'Without Warning', 'Fire With Fire' and the epic 'Montserrat' arguably make themselves known with a little more aplomb.
Newman reviews are so boring. "Another excellent album" can always be assumed. The man should put out a rubbish one once in a while just so we have something to talk about!
Jon Wilde - Rockrealms
Reviewer Juha Harjula (Staff)
Killing Me open up the album in a great way with layers of keyboards and crunchy guitars that runs into a great Magnum sounding chorus. If He Loves You is wonderful mid-tempo rocker with a Toby Hitchcock feel over it. Strength To Carry On is a fantastic power ballad with a slow start, but blows up to a powerful chorus. Ghost In The Night is AOR by big numbers and it even has dut-dut keyboards and the chorus is something extra with a Survivor meets Foreigner touch over it. I have to say that this is one of the best Newman songs ever. She’s Gone is another lovely AOR-song with great melodies and a strong chorus and the arrangements are superb.
The album ends with the pompish Montserrat with twists and turns and could have been written by Jim Peterik because it reminds of Pride Of Lions very much.
Newman has done it again
and recorded a strong AOR/Melodic Rock album and I have always been
weak for his music and this time he has really nailed it. The song variation
is great and fans of his early work and Big Life mixed with some traces
of Magnum, Heartland, FM and are into well crafted AOR/Melodic Rock,
will have a treat with this one. Don’t miss Under Southern Skies
because it’s a damn fine album.
NEWMAN / UNDER SOUTHERN SKIES (2011)
Steve Newman is a very charismatic musician. All his releases are well-crafted melodic rock music with catchy melodies and great songwriting. He achieved to build a strong reputation over the years around his name with every album that he has released. for me it's always a great pleasure to have a brand new Newman effort. His last opus, "The Art Of Balance", which was released last year, was a fine piece of pure melodic rock bliss. Nowadays, Mr. Newman is back with "Under Southern Skies", which marks the 8th studio album, and features some great songs with big melodies, memorable chorus lines and a tight musicianship.
"Killing Me" is the track which opens this brilliant release. A classic Newman tune with a very good riff and Newman's passionate performance. Just an appetizer of what's coming up next! "If He Loves You" is in the same mood with the opener tune and features a monsterous chorus which makes you wanna push the repeat button again and again! "Under Southern Skies" is a heavier one. It starts with a big, in-your-face riffing and Newman's kinda of 'aggressive' vocal lines. A huge track but lacks a bit in the chorus line. With "Strength To Carry On" comes the first ballad. Very good arrangements and an incredible solo make this tune one of the best moments here. "Ghost In The Night" is a very good rocker while "Without Warning" is a kinda of melacholic AOR tune. "She's Gone" has a huge melody, a catchy as hell chorus line and it's my personal favourite track from this new album. "Fire With Fire" is a moodier song and has some bluesier pinches. "Save No Prisoners" is another highlight and "Wish You Were Here" is another emotional ballad with an excellent harmony. It's one of these songs that Newman's performances travels you far away. "Montserrat" which closes the album has some really interesting arrangements. An excellent way to close this solid album.
Bottom line is that Newman achieved to give us another excellent Melodic Rock release. Great performances, as always, hyge melodies, emotions and some really strong tracks are things that you are going to hear in "Under Southern Skies".
HeavyParadise's Rating : 8/10
"The Art Of Balance" 8
It’s been a few years since we heard any new material from Steve Newman, the veritable one man band behind seven previous Newman releases. He first came to my attention with “One Step Closer” back in 1999, but I’ll admit I lost track of him until seeing him at Z Rock last year. The performance and subsequent t Best Of album was the kick in the bollocks I needed to remind me of just how good this guy really is. As a result I’ve been looking forward to this new album and am glad that it completely justifies his position on the bill for this years Firefest.
The album starts off a bit oddly, with over a minute of news reports about dead pop and rock stars mixed together. There’s Cobain, Hutchence and Jackson all lining coffins, paving the way for a very lively song called “Hero To Zero”, about the price of fame. Although the intro is certainly odd and a bit overlong, the song that follows sets the tone for the album perfectly. It’s fast, melodic and catchy as hell, something Newman has a real talent for producing. There’s no true influence here, and instead you can take several bands and throw them all in to get an idea of the Newman sound. Try Brother Firetribe, Ten, H.E.A.T and Foreigner (but not the wussy stuff) for starters and you’ll get some idea of what we’re dealing with. When Newman turns on the power he is simply brilliant. The faster tracks on “The Art Of Balance” are by far the best, and “Edge Of The World”, “Endless” and “Stronger” kick some serious ass. There are plenty of mid paced tracks as well, with some admirably fiddly guitar work throughout. As well as playing and writing the majority of the album, Newman also delivers a great sound as producer, one I can’t fault in any way. Vocally, he’s always had a strong voice, and whilst not one of the greats he has a similar range to Eclipse’s Erik Martennson which shows he is no slouch in this department.
It’s not all pom poms and trumpets, however, as a couple of tracks just don’t grab me. There’s “Stay With Me”, a rather drippy love song that could have come from a hundred artists and still been rather unexciting, and “Break It Again” is catchy enough, but seems like there’s a better song trying to get through. These are, admittedly, rather minor quibbles but that’s what I’m here for. That aside, I really like this album, and I even like the big wet ballad “Forever”. If you’re the sort of person who goes to Firefest (or wants to) and appreciates solid, guitar driven, catchy melodic hard rock, then Newman is someone you really need to be introduced to.
NEWMAN : The Art Of Balance
Album Review: Newman - The Art Of Balance (2010)
The Art Of Balance is a fully original studio recording featuring Steve on vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and production, and Rob McEwan on drums and percussion. Mark Thompson Smith (co-writer of a couple of tracks) and Geoff Wootton contribute backing vocals. Steve does have a live band, but this album (recorded at his The Blue Room studio in the UK) is not too far from a solo effort.
The sound is solid, hearty hard rock with bags of melody and a very memorable nature. If you like his other releases, there is no way you'll be disappointed by this album. The musicianship is excellent throughout, belying the fact one guy played the majority of it.
'Hero To Zero' kicks things off. It has a drawn out intro leading into a song with an urgent drum sound. Steve's vocals are as chunky as ever, and the song's chorus is pleasantly catchy. 'Edge Of The World' has an even better chorus. In fact it's not far off being as good as choruses ever get. 'Endless' recalls the heavier end of older Journey and more. It's got a wonderful timeless feel, even if the chorus isn't as good as the first couple of tracks. The pumping 'The Miracle' has a laid back charm beneath it's bass-heavy exterior. Again, it's a song you feel you've known for years.
'Stay With Me' is a very pleasant ballad. It isn't sickly-sweet or overly emotive, but it really is jolly nice. 'Tumble Down' is a mature take on the sounds of the 1980s. It isn't perfect, but there are some superb melodies and guitar segments in there. 'Wish You Well' reminds me in places of Journey's 'Edge Of The Blade'. The similarities are not all-consuming though, and the track works well as a standalone entity. 'Find My Heart' is another oomph-laden ballad with a fine sound.
'Your Surrender' picks the game up a few notches. The chorus is so feel good it'll make you smile like the Cheshire Cat. 'Break It Again' has an even better chorus. It's a great track that balances its quieter moments beautifully with the loud ones. 'Forever' is another of the loud ballads, and it's the best of the lot. Love that chorus! Final track 'Stronger' is a thumping finish to the album, offering a great chorus and brilliantly warm sound.
There's no doubt The Art Of Balance is a fine addition to the Newman catalogue, and it's definitely up with his best releases. It could do with another couple of really big songs but that's all. Steve Newman's characterful vocals and the superb musicianship conspire to make this a more-than-worthwhile purchase for fans of beefy hard rock. rockrealms
Newman - The Art of Balance
Released by Chrome Dome Records - 2010
Review Added March 28, 2010
Release date: March 15, 2010
Steve Newman - Vocals
Steve Newman has been a force in the aor and melodic world for a while, and many fans take a liking to not only his unique vocals but his strong songwriting skills. Steve's storied music career can be traced back to the early 80's in England and some of the early material then was influenced by popular local bands Trobruk and Explorer. As with many musicians there is always a carousel of band lineups, different musical directions and struggles to find your "niche", but one constant strong point that Steve Newman has developed through the years is the amount of material written and recorded, now the band is back again with their 7th Studio album and most of their records have gotten critical acclaim in the past examples (Heaven Knows and Primitive Soul), but we know the hardest thing is not to break in but stay at the top release after release. With "The Art of Balance", the formula stays the same and the material in terms of songwriting could be some of the strongest that Steve has ever written.
The initial track "Hero to Zero" intro is definitely something unique to behold, as it pays a sorta tribute to some pasts fallen rock and roll heroes who have fallen from grace if you will. Top notch heavy gritty vocals of Steve hold up strong on "Edge Of The World" blazes through with with a rampage menace and who could forget that catchy chorus? Perfect!!. Classic aor keyboard hints show up in "The Miracle" with a driving power that will make anybody take notice. The crunch rhythm continues at you via way of "Tumble Down" perhaps a favorite on "TAOB", a perfect mix of aor and hard rock fusion sounding very modern and powerful. The stunning soaring chorus in "Wish You Well" will make you shot it out loud, a perfect hard arena rock anthem that takes the cake. Ohh and you thought that maybe the record was going downhill in closing? We didn't think so as the closing track "Stronger" is exactly that, a immensely powerful closer that will end this fine record in style.
The style of the album holds a balance mix of aor and hard rock, but with Steve Newman's strong vocal quality, adds a nice powerful strike that makes the record memorable. It does hold up well against past material and of course the songwriting is solid. It seems to me that the Melodic Rock is enjoying a resurgence of amazing high quality records for a year now we have received nothing but amazing stuff, W.E.T, Giant, Brian Howe to name a few, and it keep on going strong with Newman's - The Art of Balance. Even though is not groundbreaking as I stated earlier, consistency is hard to achieve and the great bands seems to hit it every time, no exception here. You know what to expect already, high quality material, melodic and heavy at the same time, with some nice ballads in between. Recommended to all fans of Melodic Rock.
Written by Denys
Ratings Denys 4.5/5
REVIEW OF FIRE (Critica) - NEWMAN - The Art of Balance (2010) from translated
After a disc celebration in 2008, titleholder DECADE, where the intrepid musician would rewrite classic subjects of his already expanded race, was moment for creating the official successor of the loose Primitive Soul (2007).
As he is very frequent in the recordings of NEWMAN, the same STEVE in their characteristic self-sufficient eagerness, was in charge to practically play all the except for the battery, which was the responsibility of Rob McEwen, being this unique external musician in the sessions of “The Art of Balance” (Also there was a pair of collaborations in the choirs but nothing).
After listening to in repeated occasions the work, we can say that the Briton to made an effort to the maximum to obtain a product of great embergadura. The melodic magic of the disc makes me remember the times of its fabulous One Step Closer (1997), but with a greater dose of force and guitars, that perfectly complement the sound of the CD. The unique one “but”, is perhaps the production, which although he is very decent for the style, does not get to be sufficiently polished like obtaining the maximum note.
As far as the subjects, we will find a great variety here; from the forts and quick guitarreras bursts of: Hero to Zero, Edge of the World or The Miracle; to the intense presence of the keyboards in: Tumble Down, Endless and Stay pride with me (my favorite).
The most classic atmosphere of NEWMAN appears cultivated field in: Your to surrender, the Find charmer my Heart or Wish you well, where Steve leaves well in clear that their particular vocal conditions follow but that intact.
When listening Break it Again you will love its effective refrain, the same, precedes when power you fence, Forever, that full of love the atmosphere, for finally, to show preference for the perfect Stronger that concludes thus this formidable album.
THE ART OF BALANCE, is a spectacular disc that will leave satisfied to all the fanatics with the great Steve Newman and to but staunch fans of hard rock, so that the perceived listened thing and is a true balance of art and quality.
Music / Indie
Andrew McNeice (Melodicrock.com)
Newman - Decade
or not it’s been ten years since Newman released their self titled
debut album on Point
Even if you
have all of the previous releases and aren't too bothered about picking
up a CD full
include Coming Home Tonight, Can You Hear Me Now and the Giant meets
Toto vibe of All
The 6th album
of the significant brit AOR/MHR musician Steve Newman seals his self-direction
decided to unbind himself from a major label, such as Escape, in
are sufficient as always, and this is no surprise considering his previous
- Primitive Soul CD Review
So wow, this is Steve Newman's 6th release under the moniker Newman, but pretty much his first where he has ultimately controlled everything from day one!
If you favour AOR type music ala 80's classic act's Night Ranger, Jeff Paris, Journey, Van Halen or guitarists style ala Steve Vai or have just plain followed Mr. Newman's activities since the first self titled release in 1998 then in theory …., you should already have this album & the bonus if you pre-ordered it through the Newman website, then you would've received 3 additional bonus tracks to these 12 "good 'un's!"
OK so I know Steve as an old friend, I also know how much heart & soul this guy seriously puts into his work … & I can tell you, Steve Newman is the genuine article!
You could go so far as to say, why did Escape Music stick with Steve for 4 albums, if they didn't think he was worth keeping – i.e. If they didn't think they'd shift any album sales, then I believe Steve would've parted ways with them a lot sooner than his last with them, 2006's Heaven Knows.
OK, I said when I reviewed the last album that the opener was the best opener on a Newman release since One Step Closer. OK, he's gone & one bettered it!!!
Heading For You Heart starts with a soulful guitar intro, some people have compared this track & the intro to Giant's Last Of The Runaways …., perhaps going so far as to say he's ripped it off. I have to disagree, I own that release, I dug it out & played it again & again & I can't see or say that it sounds like Steve has ripped off anything there. How many rock tracks start with some kind of soulful type guitar intro & then rip into the main track itself with some tasty licks …., who cares? There's probably hundreds or more, what Newman has here is nothing short of a very tasty opener. 'Nuff said!
15 Minute Revolution starts very differently from where it ends up & slowly builds with the story of how the media blows the big stories about crazy idiots like Saddam or the Waco Wacko(!) way out of proportion, whilst the individual with genuine life difficulties gets buried in the small print. "Jeannie's got a gun gonna start a new revolution. Rebel with a cause just because she can blow him away. Moving like a cat on a rat across the constitution. Wooaoh dog has it's day …." Ain't that the truth!
OK, here's the area where I might say Mr. Newman got an influence from something else, title cut Primitive Soul – IMHO – kicks in like Van Halen's Panama, even some of the accent's in his lead work may may you think Eddie VH! It's actually a great title track that I can't get out of my head …, even after the whole album is done! Good job Steve, catchy hooklines, no question mate! Great guitar work throughout, punchy, edgy, yet he still keeps the basic song structures deeply melodic. Good production work Steve & vocally on this he's still pushing himself.
Alright, it's Newman ballad time folks, with Still Can't Find The Words & the verse is almost reminding me of something that I can't nail …, but in the chorus we hear, "Even though my heart is breaking, I still stand here hesitating, I know I know, I still can't find the words." – I want to sing, "I know I know, This much is true!" Yes, almost, but it's not by a long way …., Spandau Ballet!
Last Flight misleads you with a very gentle intro, before totally rocking out with a huge hard rocking track!
Big sounds, guitars & big choruses, very edgy rock track & check out his solo on this …, awesome stuff!
This album features Steve playing all guitars – Except for a solo by Tommy Denander on Cold Day In Hell. – all lead vocals, keyboards – Except on Cold Day In Hell, which feature Dave Parr - & he shares the backing vocals with Mark Thompson-Smith (Ex Praying Mantis) & is nobly assisted otherwise on drums by Rob McEwen who also played on last album Heaven Knows.
Falling Like Stone still follows the AOR track, but has some interesting changes throughout it, but the vocals are really strong on this track.
Next track For The Man I Am has a very interesting keyboard driven atmospheric intro, which pops up through the verses also. Again, the choruses are vocally very strong indeed. Great harmony guitar solo on this track by the way!
Cold Day In Hell is next & I love the radio searching for something to listen to intro.
Steve Newman really seems to be pushing his vocals to raspy sounds in the verses here & this track is a slow, stomping, moody track again big the big chanting choruses. Guitar lead duties shared between Steve & Tommy Denander. Sweet!
Next track I Get Torn has very interesting rhythms to it's intro & I'd go so far as to say it's slightly reminiscent of a certain Judie Tzuke in Steve's vocal phrasing in places, a little breathy but then the chorus is still big. This track may be a little different for Newman fans, but it shows another, bolder side to Steve's work I think.
I think Rapture has the breathy / slight raspy vocals in places but musically I see it very Toto'ish here & there, even hint's of Augeri period Journey power ballad album type track. Good stuff!
Give It All You've Got is here to get back on the rock track & is lyrically on track with Juke Box Hero about a young kid guitarist, musically it's prime time Newman. Great hooklines, very tight, good catchy chorus, strong vocal lines & killer solo Steve!
Closer here is Mystery To Me, more of those breathy intro vocals & here & there leads into Strangeways territory & still Toto'ish in a lot of the music …. Very classy!
Not an out & out rocker to finish with to leave you wanting more, perhaps running order on the last 2 tracks could've, been changed & perhaps that killer closing touch to end on.
A pretty damn good album in my books all said & done & easily worth 4/5.
I seriously encourage those that have not yet checked Newman out to do so now!
It's independent rock ventures like this that reek of "well done," "Good job mate," etc, etc, support these better acts folks,
otherwise there will be many bad also rans & people will be saying, whatever happen to Newman?
Ah, the people who love this music didn't get behind the act, so he / she / they, gave up ….
It'll sadly be our loss in the end. Keep on rockin' Steve & all power to you for a seriously good release!
Newman - Primitive Soul
Follow up to last years excellent 'Heaven Knows' opus, 'Primitive Soul' is his sixth album in ten years, and once again provides some of the best, pure AOR this country has ever produced. Like it's predecessor, 'Primitive Soul' is largely Steve's own work, with drums and percussion again being provided by Rob McEwen.
This time around though, there are a smattering of guest appearances from the likes of Tommy Denander, Dave Parr, and Mark Thompson Smith to add that extra little bit of sparkle. Looking at it from a musical perspective, Primitive Soul' is probably Steve's most diverse release to date, the usual emotionally charged ballads and punchy MHR anthems now sharing the stage with moodier, more sophisticated numbers - check out the brooding 'Falling Like Stone'.
Fortunately, the increased diversity hasn't been achieved at the expense of melodies or hooks, and I'm pleased to report these are just as strong as ever - witness 'Heading For Your Heart', 'For The Man I Am', and 'Last Flight' to name but three.
But for me, where Steve has always scored big is the astuteness of his lyrical observations, and in '15 Minute Revolution' he's penned arguably his most thought provoking (and damming) yet. Classy, slick, sophisticated, and supremely addictive, 'Primitive Soul' is the latest in a long line of top grade releases from this most underrated of artists. (D.Cockett)
NEWMAN - PRIMITIVE SOUL
Reviewed by Don Gibbs
Steve Newman, that quintessential English melodic rocker, who had an awesome release with “Heaven Knows”, is back, this time without the backing of the Escape label. Would this lack of backing prove to be a major sticking point? Who knows? I know how hard bands fight to get themselves signed to major labels so that they can get their music heard, so is ‘going it alone’ the right thing for Steve to do? Only time and sales will tell.
I had been looking forward to this release for a long time, since hearing of its progress at Firefest III last year, when I was fortunate to speak to Steve after his slightly problematic set at the pre-show party. I was, and still am, a huge fan of “Heaven Knows” and felt at the time that Steve had possible reached a pinnacle and could go no further – so lets press the play button and jump in with both feet.
The first track “Heading For Your Heart” starts off with a really slow spine tingling mellow and moody guitar riff that acts almost like a relaxant before the tempo changes and the guitar bursts into a rocky, heavily distorted up-tempo beat which drags you full on into the track proper. With “Heading For Your Heart” Steve has once again managed to find an awesome opener, just as he did with “Heaven Knows”, the right track in the right place to achieve the right effect.
The title track, “Primitive Soul”, is a rocker from start to finish. Building up from a beaty, almost tribal beginning, to a real head-banging, toe-tapping chorus that doesn’t need much before you start singing along. Following on from this is “Still Cant Find The Words” which turns the ‘beat dial’ from 10 right back down to 1 and is a real ‘last dance’ ballad.
As you all know I am not one to break releases down and comment track by track, I like to look at the bigger picture. So, here is the bigger picture. This is an impressive release that is filled with impressive tracks, one of the rare occasions that you can state that “the sum of the one is equal to the sum of the whole”. “Primitive Soul” once again highlights the talents that Mr Newman possess (I call him ‘Mr’ as a sign of respect), especially when you realise that he has done this all on his own again, all guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals. The only parts he didn’t do were the drums, and I bet if he had more time he would give them a go as well. What is plainly obvious, when you look at Steve Newman’s back catalogue, is that he keeps getting better and better with each release – even our illustrious Dougie at hardrockhouse.com felt the need to eat humble pie when he reviewed “Heaven Knows” previously. This album follows the trend, and is, in my opinion, even better than “Heaven Knows”
As I mentioned previously, this release has been done without the backing of a major label, and if I may be so bold, I do think that it is noticeable. Gone is the almost urgent nature which is necessary to meet deadlines set by record labels, the pressure to create and deliver has gone. This has been replaced by a more personal touch, you can almost sense the sigh of relief at being able to take time over writing the songs, and I feel that this shows in the quality of the songs on this album.
Once again, Steve has moved the bar up another few notches and laid down an album of unquestionable quality, an album that will stay on the MP3 player for a long time (at least until his next release) and is a MUST BUY for all melodic rock fans.
I wanted to give this release top marks, but if I did that then Steve may feel he could rest on his laurels, and that would not be good enough I’m afraid. We want and need more of this quality from our British rockers, and with some more inspiration he could get even better (if that is possible!) So, bearing that in mind I feel justified in giving “Primitive Soul” a well deserved 9.8/10 and my unconditional recommendation to buy this release. My main contender for album of the year so far. Well done Steve.
Newman - Heaven Knows
Rating - 9/10
Steve Newman has released four albums previously to this and Heaven Knows is his fourth release on the Escape label. In the past I’ve heard several tracks by Newman and I’ve always thought good songs, good guitar work, needs a better singer. However after this album I would like custard with that large slice of humble pie I'm about to eat.
Newman's voice has improved beyond all recognition on Heaven Knows. He now comes across as an excellent blend of john Wetton and Terry Brock which is perhaps no coincidence as several of the songs bear similarities to tracks by Brock's erstwhile band Strangeways. Heartland, albeit a slightly heavier version, also springs to mind when listening to Newman thus giving the album a very British AOR feel.
Having said all that of course the album opener, title track 'Heaven Knows' comes over all Aldo Nova circa the Blood On The Bricks' opus. A great up-tempo opener a the rocking vein is continued with second track 'Higher' which has a great guitar riff that really drives the song along. 'Ain't Gonna Cry Forever' though is the first of the tracks with the Strangeways feel about it, keyboards driving the song along and guitars overlaid to perfection. After the Giant-esque 'Move On' the Strangeways connection continues with 'The Way You Love Me', a mid tempo power ballad featuring huge vocals throughout. The ballads continue with ''Learning To Live', a true power ballad and a song that builds and builds throughout its course
Next Up, 'The Circle', Is one of the standout tracks IMO on this album with a chorus that worms it way into your skull and will not get out. I've had this song going through my head all bloody week - good job it’s a great track then. 'This Time' on the other hand is groover of a song, very similar in style to the Robert Hart fronted Distance and features another chant along chorus.
'Never Meant To Fall In Love is yet another excellent song and one that both grooves and rocks all at the same time, appealing to all AOR fans. However changing the style somewhat is 'Wait', a song that has an almost jazz feel to the guitar, the change of style certainly helps to keep the album interesting at a point were it may have got a bit samey. 'Sport Of Kings' is the only co-write on the album, with Anders Rydholm from Grand illusion/The Code, and is a slightly darker feeling track. 'On Any Other Sunday', which is dedicated to the victims of the Tsunami that hit south east Asia just over a year ago, is an acoustic ballad that rounds off the album in fine style. Don’t take my word for it though, head over to www.escape-muisc.com and download this track and have a listen for yourself!
As you can tell I like Heaven Knows has proved to be an album that I like rather a lot. It must be said thought that it not the most original record you will ever hear. All the songs prove to be strong, with little 'filler' about any of the tracks. Arguably the best British AOR album I’ve heard this year.
Chris Lambert (Rockreport.be)
: HEAVEN KNOWS
Andrew McNeice (Melodicrock.com)
After a couple of less important Escape Music releases (such as the ones of Laudamus and Pain And Passion), here’s finally an album that I’ve been waiting for a long, long time.Already recorded between May and September of last year and produced by Steve Newman and the great Pete Coleman, here’s Newman’s best album to this date, called “Sign Of The Modern Times”. We had to wait three years for it, but it was surely worth the long wait. With the exception of “Watching You” – co-written by Steve Newman and Ian Fergusson – all tracks have been written by Steve Newman himself and, believe me, there’s more than one gem among them. People who don’t know this man, would expect he’s hailing from America, but as a matter of fact he’s from the UK and in my humble opinion one of the best (still) dealing with AOR/melodic rock. Choose any random track and let you overwhelm by the great lead and backing vocals, the catchy hooks, the powerful guitar riffs and the impressive keyboards combined with the great melodies. And on top of all that, there’s a great balance between the ballads and the more up-tempo tracks. I won’t mention any songs as all of them are of an extreme high quality and executed in a perfect way. This is not only a milestone for Steve Newman and Escape Music, it’s also a big, big contender for the best album of this year. You’re a fool if you miss out on this one…
Chris Lambert (Rock Report)
Newman returns with his first album for 3 years – if you don't
include the shelved Butterfly Tattoo album. Joining Steve is Pete
Jupp and Mike Brooks, with producer Peter Coleman adding his input.
Andrew McNeice (Melodicrock.com)
'Dance in the fire'
Isn't it fun when an album catches you unawares blowing you completley away- well that's what 'Dance In The Fire' did for me. This album is beyond what I was expecting, each song on this twelve track moster perfectly marries melodic rock and pure AOR just how you love it, rich harmonies, orgasamic vocals and a production that any other other British rock band would kill for. Yes UK based singer/songwriter Steve Newman has outdone himself with his third studio album.
Vocally Newman reminds me of David Coverdale, especially on the opening duo of 'Every Moment' and 'Jealousy'. The former is pure melodic rock, check out the gorgeous keyboard playing and the equally stunning guitar work, the latter mixes Magnum with Whitesnake, check out the pompy keyboards and majestic chorus, excellent.
We also get to hear a couple of nice power ballads, 'Anything At All' is totally gorgeous boasting comparisons to Stan Bush and Def Leppard, whilst the guitar playing reminds me of Eric Johnson, it's got that pop/metal feel of the late 80's and would have been a big hit. The second of the ballads is called 'Angel', this song is built around an uptempo chorus a'la Nightranger, Bad English. Newman's voice is huge and this song is quite possibly the ballad of the year.
Other songs to check out are the commercial AOR-tastic title track ' Dance In The Fire', 'Call My Name' and 'Do You Remember', all feature luxurious FM tinted harmonies and addictive chorus lines to sing along to, whilst an ozzing of melodic class can be heard on 'Follow Your Heart', which plays once again like a mix of Whitesnake and Shy.
favorite song of the whole cd is 'Prey' which I think will suprise
many of Newman's fans, it's quite a heavy song and the keyboards float
around the songs melodic grooves, thus 'Prey' come across like Lion
and perhaps Ken Tamplin, an awesome song and one that will be a firm
live favourite. 'Not Your Lover' continues in this style, but is not
as heavy as 'Prey'. 'Dangerous' reminds me of Survivor and FM, this
is AOR at it's finest and the chorus is dead catchy. Finally a mention
must also go to a wonderful song called 'Love Is The Drug' where once
again the Whitesnake and Shy comparisons coming flowing in, but it's
Rating: 9,5/10 Nicky Baldrian (Strutter Magazine)
/ ONE STEP CLOSER
I must confess that I am yet to hear Newman's debut album.I have also heard mixed reports about this album, but I am a little puzzled why.As long as what I describe is your particular thing, you will not be disappointed by this album. It is a strong piece of AOR & rock, with an emphasis on more keyboard influenced songs and an modern, but 80's influenced sound. But the production is with 90's values, insuring that this does not sound dated in any way. Any fan of Escape's back catalogue should be pleased to add this to it. Steve Newman produced this album himself, which he has done a good job of. His voice is one I can't pigeon hole, so I will just say that it is quite a deep voice and capable of holding a good melody.
In typical grand
rock style, the album opens with One Step Closer.
This sounds remarkably close to the style of The
Distance. There is a small connection there - the label and
Delwyn Brooks who mixed both records.
Andrew McNeice (Melodicrock.com)