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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Newman - 2003 Sign Of The Modern Times
Newman - 2003 Sign Of The Modern Times

ARTIST: Newman
ALBUM: Sign Of The Modern Times
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2003


LINEUP: Steve Newman - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Mike Brooks - bass * Pete Jupp - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Save Me Tonight * 02 Last Known Survivors * 03 Masquerade * 04 Rivers Flow * 05 You Should Be Gone * 06 Watching You * 07 Heart v Desire * 08 Don't Keep Me Waiting * 09 What You Do To Me * 10 Sign Of The Modern Times * 11 Worlds Apart


Without question, it's pretty easy to tell where Steve Newman's heart and mind resides when it comes to good music. This guy lives in the center-lane of melodic rock! Getting him to swerve to either side would be like asking David Beckham to open the bowling for the England Cricket team! Again, we've got another consistent guitar-driven palette of tunes, which embellish the previous work we've heard from Steve since 1997's debut for Point Music. As a prelude to reviewing 'Sign Of Modern Times', I went back and had a listen to those three previous efforts, and in doing so, thought he would be hard-pressed to match some of that stuff, like 'One Step Closer' and 'Desperate Hours' for instance. But this new one has some wonderful moments, and they've been getting a heap of listening this month. A new lineup too, with FM drummer Pete Jupp joining the fray. Harem Scarem/Emerald Rain like commercialness meets gilt-edged British melodia a la Pride is where Newman is at these days, though to be honest, there are many familiar reminders all throughout the disc. Steve still likes to play his guitars loud, and the keyboard layers add to the sheen.

The Songs
We open up with 'Save Me Tonight', a track that's 'heavy' on guitars, with more steel in it than a Sheffield Steel Mill! 'Last Known Survivor' features an Emerald Rain like guitar structure, but the song takes off on the bridge and chorus. Killer stuff.. 'are we the last known survivors... never lose sight of the flame.' An anthem for our times. I wonder if he's talking about the plight of the diehard melodic rock fan? 'Rivers Flow' coincidentally, could've been uplifted from the first Riverdogs album, the acoustic/electric interplay reminiscent of Campbell and Brophy. For those who recall The VUs 2001 album 'Phoenix Rising', you'll notice the similarity on 'You Should Be Gone', similarly structured with keyboards to match! Next up is 'Watching You', which simmers with heartfelt warmth, a ballad that'll stir some fires for sure! 'Heart v Desire' is a keyboard laced affair, sounding like any number of bands in the genre, while 'Don't Keep Me Waiting' slows things down a bit, it has that same Scandi strut you've heard before from the likes of Tommy Nilsson and Easy Action! The title track contains pulsing bass lines, a great chorus, and a smiliar tempo to Fastway material. The album ends with the wonderful majestic ballad 'Worlds Apart', tis a pity the lyrics are so tearjerky!

In Summary
Overall, a surprisingly good commercial hard rock album, with bugger all in the way of filler. That must be a good thing!

Related Articles
Newman - 1997 Newman
Newman - 1999 One Step Closer
Newman - 2001 Dance In The Fire
Newman - 2003 Interview with Steve Newman
Newman - 2003 Sign Of The Modern Times
Newman - 2006 Heaven Knows
Newman - 2007 Primitive Soul
Newman - 2013 Siren
Newman - 2015 The Elegance Machine

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#1 | swazi on November 19 2012 22:34:03
For me definitely one of the highlights in 2003. Fabulous stuff!
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