Review by Julian Handley
For the last 15 years, since the first Newman release, Steve Newman and his band have constantly strived to achieve perfection in their quest to deliver AOR flavoured Melodic Rock of the highest order. Whilst always a consistent performer churning out competent efforts, greatness would never be a word associated with any past offerings.
Whilst admiring the perseverance and occasional highlight, I felt that previous efforts achieved credibility but lacked real quality, therefore pigeon holing the band as ‘also-ran’s. They have always displayed a workman like approach which expressed passion and honesty only for the songs to fall a little flat in the final mix. There have been a few noteworthy moments, most notably 2011’s Under Southern Skies, which unveiled a richer sound and all round better dynamics, thus giving hope that a potential monster might well emerge in the near future.
Fast forward to 2013 and Siren: Wow! Steve Newman and his band have positively nailed it. From the opening notes of ‘Scar of Love’, you can instantly connect with the passion and emotion. The hurt, anger, and healing exuded in the first track leaves you with no doubt that this guy has been through the wringer in his quest for love but all this pain and suffering brings about an aural delight for the intrepid listener.
The band is on fire, creating an album of beautifully crafted AOR gems. The vocals are smooth and rich, harmonies and choruses, angelic and heartfelt, bleeding guitar licks, complementary drum kicks and subtle keyboards. This album consists of stellar content, with all twelve tracks being of equal strength and not a single filler or studio straggler to be found.
Mr Newman has called upon the cream of contemporary AOR’s finest song writers to assist, with contributions coming from Robert Sall (Work of Art/W.E.T), Pete Newdeck (Eden’s Curse) and Nick Workman (Vega), proving to be a master stroke, as their involvement has elevated Newman to another level.
All tracks are stunners, but my personal favourites are ‘ Siren’, ‘ Had Enough ‘, ‘Crossfire ‘ and the album closer ‘ Don’t Know Why’. Elements of Toto, Whitesnake, Def Leppard and Journey bleed with equal measure, in the forming of this Melodic Rock masterpiece.
So congratulations Steve Newman, as with the contribution of some perfectly selected guest musicians, you have achieved a piece of work of the highest order.
9 out of 10
- Scar of Love
- Had Enough
- Another Bitch of a Night
- Feel Her Again
- Some Kind of Wonderful
- When it Comes to Love
- Waiting for the Day
- The Foolish One
- Don’t Know Why