NEWMAN – Siren (2013)
In music industry, as with most things in life, trends tend to come and go. What was in vogue yesterday, today is cast aside for the next big thing. When we talk about Steve NEWMAN, he has been consistently producing high quality Melodic (Hard) Rock albums since 1998, pointing a indelible middle finger to modern, soulless trends.
After a break of two years following a studio upgrade and relocation, Newman return with their 10th studio album “Siren”.
Steve Newman has never done a duff album and “Siren” is easily amongst his best, plenty of shimmer vocal harmonies and pirate-sized musical hooks through these arena-ready 12 tracks. As usual, Newman’s slightly raspy vocals provides an extra rockin’ edge to his polished material. Yes, you have the traditional keyboards here, the soaring guitars are at the order of the day and of course a crisp production. Modern influences? Forget about that! As said, Newman is pure Melodic Rock / AOR, and the man deliver the goods.
This time around, as with the last few studio albums, Steve is joined by highly talented session drummer Rob McEwen, but has also brought in a few familiar guests to enhance the sound and writing process. From the Newman’s live band, Shaun Bessant drops a solo on “When It Comes To Love” and Robert Säll (Work Of Art, W.E.T.) guests on “Feel Her Again”.
In the songwriting department, Steve has joined forces with Pete Newdeck (Eden’s Curse, Tainted Nation) for the songs “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and “Waiting For The Day”, while long time friend Nick Workman (Vega, Kick) co-writes on the uplifting “When It Comes To Love”. Both Pete and Nick also contribute backing vocals.
The first five tracks on “Siren” are some of the best songs Newman has ever written in his whole career: the fantastic opener “Scar Of Love”, the addictive anthem “Had Enough” and the ballad “Arcadia” – which reminded me of John Payne-era Asia – offer immense choruses, layered vocals and tinkly keys, perfect for that melodic rock musical fix.
“Another Bitch of a Night” has a slinky, Whitesnake feel during the verses along with a traditional AOR chorus, followed by the energetic, remarkable melodies of “Feel Her Again” with a similarity to W.E.T. Not surprising, as Robert Säll co-penned it and slashed a wonderful solo.
Even when keyboardist Paul Boyle starts off with these ethereal sounds on “Some Kind of Wonderful”, once the guitars kick into gear he falls into line to the tempo and spirit of a heads down rocker. The title track has a hint of Def Leppard about it, mainly in the intro and the vocal arrangements, a great headphone listen.
Newman even digs back into ’80s American hard rock sound with the Dokken meets Giant ballad “When It Comes To Love”, but soon up the tempo with the solid, slightly progressive rocker “Crossfire”, a bit long close to the seven minute mark but serves to display Newman’s and his band acute musical sensibilities, and you feel the genuine respect and admiration the players have for the songwriting at hand.
We can note Pete Newdeck’s talents (and his vocals) on the dynamic melodic rocker “Waiting For The Day”, while the piano-led power ballad “The Foolish One” hits the spot nicely with its highly harmonic AOR melody.
Closer “Don’t Know Why” surprises a bit, but in great way: it’s the more ’80s oriented tune on the record driven by a classic riff, features powerful background vocals akin Toto / Giant, and Steve’s leads are smoother.
It’s summertime, and I know you’ve much releases on your list these days, but you must add “Siren” as a mandatory purchase.
This is a pure slice of old school Melodic Rock / AOR masterfully crafted; well written, arranged at detail, catchy as hell, and played & produced as fans of the genre expect to be.
Easily Newman’s best, and one to rank high in the ‘Best Of’ this year.
01. Scar Of Love
02. Had Enough
04. Another Bitch Of A Night
05. Feel Her Again
06. Some Kind Of Wonderful
08. When It Comes To Love
10. Waiting For The Day
11. The Foolish One
12. Don’t Know Why
Steve Newman – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Rob McEwen – Drums, Percussion
Paul Boyle – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Shaun Bessant – Lead Guitar on “When It Comes To Love”
Robert Säll (Work Of Art, W.E.T.) – Lead Guitar on “Feel Her Again”
Pete Newdeck (Eden’s Curse, Tainted Nation) – Backing Vocals, Songwriting
Nick Workman (Vega, Kick) – Backing Vocals, Songwriting
BUY IT !