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Newman - 2015 The Elegance Machine

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ARTIST: Newman
ALBUM: The Elegance Machine
YEAR: 2015


LINEUP: Steve Newman - vocals, guitar, keyboards * Rob McEwen - drums, percussion * Geoff Wootton - backing vocals on 'The Suit (Skyscraper)', 'One Good Reason' and 'Halo' * Mark Thompson-Smith - backing vocals on 'Illuminate', 'Send Us Salvation' and 'Pretender Surrender'

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Suit (Skyscraper) * 02 The Elegance Machine * 03 Don't Stay Lonely * 04 Illuminate * 05 Confess * 06 Halo * 07 Prayer For Apollo * 08 She Walks In Silence * 09 One Good Reason * 10 Pretender Surrender * 11 Send Us Salvation * 12 Scars



We've reviewed Steve Newman often enough over the years, and after a long stint with Escape Music, he's found a new home at AOR Heaven. I gotta say, his music is as quality filled as ever. Since his 1997 debut, there have been many highlights, and his new one 'The Elegance Machine' is sure to add to that list. There's no real change to the delivery method, but the songwriting, arrangements and production have ridden the years of development and moved with the times. Sharp incisive guitar-work coupled with some modern synth lines has given 'The Elegance Machine' a clean sound without being sterile. There's warmth to be found at chorus time, which makes this album all the more catchy and AOR friendly.

The Songs
The tracks that catch my ears are the ones where the modern synths add a point of difference, and interest. These include the rather tasty title-track 'The Elegance Machine', 'Don't Stay Lonely', complete with an AOR certified chorus, or the sonic inducements of 'One Good Reason'. Very cool tunes. Let's not forget Newman's bread and butter.. racy melodic rock and then some. In this category, we get the powerful 'Illuminate', 'Confess' with riffs aplenty and the pairing of 'Pretender Surrender' and 'Send Us Salvation'. 'Halo' is something different yet again, an anthemic pulsing tune with a big sing-along chorus. Probably the only song which doesn't quite work for me is 'Prayer For Apollo', the lyrics based on the Apollo Space Mission. 'Scars' finishes up as the album's purest ballad, with piano taking the lead.

In Summary
For me, the testimony of a good album is how often you come back to it, especially during the before and after phase of an album review. In that regard 'The Elegance Machine' holds up rather well. There's a bunch of songs that have been on repeat-play recently, and I'll say this one is surprising good. The cover art has picked up a few comments of dissent out there on the Net. The same cannot be said about the music. Another solid effort that forms part of the Steve Newman musical legacy.

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