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NEWMAN ‘Sign Of The Modern Times’ Escape Music ESM090 (2003) The new album by Newman, the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Steve Newman who is joined here by bassist Mike Brooke and FM drummer Pete Jupp, who lays down a strong backbeat as you’d expect from such a talented drummer. Added to this Pete Coleman (Black Sabbath/AC/DC) handles production, which has a deep and luxurious sound throughout the album and not the ‘tinny’ sound found on other some recent melodic rock releases.

So what can you expect? Bloody good tunes that’s what! Opener ‘Save Me Tonight’ kicks in after a harmony vocal intro and pounds along like prime time Night Ranger and the greatly missed Strangeways. Newman sounds like It Bites’ Francis Dunnery on ‘Last Known Survivor’, no bad thing and the song has a hook filled chorus. Pete Jupp’s band, FM, are another reference point sound wise although Newman are slightly more heavier in the guitar sound. AOR ballad time on ‘Watching You’, complete with near obligatory Journey style harmonies on the chorus. The other good ballad on here is ‘What You Do To Me’, where the song builds nicely to the climatic chorus and has a welter of keys on board. No real fillers on here either although the title track lacks the instant spark of the other songs on here.

Okay it doesn’t break new ground but along with Pride’s new album proves that there are still good melodic rock bands out there in the UK. Whilst we wait for the new Night Ranger, Journey and FM/Ladder albums this will do very nicely!



Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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