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Newman - 2013 Siren

ARTIST: Newman
ALBUM: Siren
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Steve Newman - vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards * Rob McEwen - drums * Shaun Bessant, Robert Sall - additional guitar spots * Pete Newdeck, Nick Workman - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Scar Of Love * 02 Had Enough * 03 Arcadia * 04 Another Bitch Of A Night * 05 Feel Her Again * 06 Some Kind Of Wonderful * 07 Siren * 08 When It Comes To Love * 09 Crossfire * 10 Waiting For The Day * 11 The Foolish One * 12 Don't Know Why



Much like the recent Michael Stanley review of 'The Ride', I made mention that we hadn't featured him in ages on the GD site. So too Steve Newman, who was at one point a regular target for reviews. We did look at Steve's 2011 Big Life project, but his solo material went untouched. Steve is on the usual social media haunts, and when word filtered through that his latest album 'Siren' was worthy of a look and listen, I jumped on the bandwagon. Firstly, it goes without saying that the cover-jacket to 'Siren' is simply terrific! A great idea utilising the red-blob liquid, which was last seen destroying the planet Vulcan and a rather large Romulan starship in the 2009 edition of the Star Trek movie franchise if I understand correctly! Umm yes.. I digress.. Like previous albums, Steve does most of the work here, and the guitar lines in particular are a real stand-out. Sharp and incisive, but melodic to the core.

The Songs
There's a good batch of ear-friendly but razor cutting hard rock in evidence here. It's off to a bruising start with 'Scar Of Love' thanks to the drum-driven tempo provided by Rob McEwen. This is more of a guitar based hard rocker without the AOR polish. Not so 'Had Enough' which includes keys to give it the pre-requisite backdrop. The solo section is very cool I must add! 'Arcadia' is very smooth and ballad like, it's probably the most AOR track on offer. Reverting to a tough sound, 'Another Bitch Of A Night' is aptly named, but when Newman brings the keyboards back into focus for the superb 'Feel Her Again', you know he's found his touch again, as this is definitely an album highlight. The twinkly keys on the intro to 'Some Kind Of Wonderful' are deceiving, because it makes way for some heavy chugging guitar work that drops this song out of the pink and fluffy clouds and down into something more earthbound. The tub-thumping drums also accelerates its descent. The title track 'Siren' follows the Newman template that we've heard over the years, but still, there's an edge to this one that identifies it as a song from 2013, not 2003. I'm liking 'When It Comes To Love' a lot, the guitar riffs are borrowed from the L.A hair rock era, while the verses are slowed up and sound different in structure than what you'd expect. 'Crossfire' is a definite keeper for me, which suggests Newman is keeping an ear to what's contemporary in 2013 as this has a few references from a number of bands on the roster of Frontiers Records. It's ballad time with 'The Foolish One', a big airy piece with piano to drive home the message. Finishing up with 'Don't Know Why', this sounds like a Tommy Denander penned tune; the keyboards and guitars all have that familiar Denander structure though this is more a coincidence than anything.

In Summary
For mine, a really likeable album, with a handful of good tracks but at least three of them are sublime. I still believe Newman's best work was around the period of his second and third albums (1999 to 2001). In a way 'Siren' goes close to bringing us back to that timeframe, and to my way of thinking, that can only mean 'excellent'. Good to have him back in the zone..

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#1 | Eric on August 09 2013 12:34:30
The cover art is amazing.

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