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Articles Home » 2011 Articles » Big Life - 2011 Big Life
Big Life - 2011 Big Life

ARTIST: Big Life
ALBUM: Big Life
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Mark Thompson-Smith - vocals * Steve Newman - guitars, keyboards, vocals * Rob McEwen - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dying Day * 02 Close To You * 03 Better Man * 04 Calling * 05 I'll Still Be Here * 06 Feel Alive * 07 Deep Water * 08 At The End Of My Rainbow * 09 Leaves * 10 Stop In Time * 11 Takin' Me Down * 12 Nothing Without You * 13 Special Relationship



British melodic rocker Steve Newman has seen enough of his name blasted all over this website during the past decade or more. But in 2011, he tries something a little bit different. The new trio Big Life is a band project featuring Steve, along with former Praying Mantis vocalist Mark Thomspon-Smith and drummer Rob McEwen. It's not a Newman album as such, because Steve has his own solo career to contend with as it is, and a new release due later in the year. From reports I have read, the material for 'Big Life' was conjured up pretty quickly, and despite the short turn around, there are a bunch of good tracks here.

The Songs
Some spacious keyboards and layered backing vocals announce the band on 'Dying Day', before long Newman kicks in with some aggressive riffs driving Big Life forward unceremoniously. More tinkly keyboards are apparent on next track 'Close To You', giving it a North American feel, however it's the serious lead guitar work from Newman that excels. 'Better Man' is part ballad and rocker and is big on melody with a great chorus. There are some exotic references on 'Calling', which makes for a change-up, and it works. First ballad 'I'll Still Be Here' has all the required attributes in this sub-genre, though the chorus needed to be a bit stronger for the song to stand out. 'Feel Alive' is a songtitle that fits the bill, it sees Big Life moving into a faster paced style of AOR/melodic rock, which suits them well. Reverting to another ballad, 'Deep Water' takes its cue from FM (UK), whereas 'Leaves' is a dreamy melancholic affair that soars into the sky upon the back of Newman's guitar flurries. I liked 'Stop In Time', though a tad wishy washy, but thankfully the band crank it severely for down 'n dirty 'Takin' Me Down'. Another ballad 'Nothing Without You' is navigated around, preferring instead to listen to the Bad Company flavoured 'Special Relationship'.

In Summary
There's thirteen tracks onboard, and you'll be doing well to retain your attention span for that long. There might be one or two ballads too many for my liking, I think a few extra rockers would've made for a better overall selection. You won't be denied on quality, as the production is lush and well balanced. The band might come across as a bit safe and generic, but for the most part, much of the glory days era of AOR and melodic rock was thrown into the same category, so nothing has really changed in thirty years. Spend some time with this CD, and let it grow on you.

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#1 | Eric on May 29 2011 11:59:19
Sounds like a goodie. Cool cover art too...
#2 | roadrunner158 on May 31 2011 10:29:44
Bit of a mixed bag, actually. A couple of really good (if somewhat predictable) tracks, but also some fillers. Best tracks imo are Better Man, Deep Water, At The End Of My Rainbow and the last track.
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