a l b u m r e v i e w s


NEWMAN / ONE STEP CLOSER
LABEL: ESCAPE MUSIC ESM044
OVERALL: 84%
Produced by: Steve Numan
  1. One Step Closer
  2. Desperate Hours
  3. Don't Walk Away
  4. Judgement Day
  5. Should've Been Me
  6. Taboo
  7. Fire Of Love
  8. Strongest Heart
  9. Strange Animal
  10. The Call
  11. Joanne
I must confess that I am yet to hear Newman's debut album.
I have also heard mixed reports about this album, but I am a little puzzled why.
As long as what I describe is your particular thing, you will not be disappointed by this album.
It is a strong piece of AOR & rock, with an emphasis on more keyboard influenced songs and an modern, but 80's influenced sound.
But the production is with 90's values, insuring that this does not sound dated in any way. Any fan of Escape's back catalogue should be pleased to add this to it.
Steve Newman produced this album himself, which he has done a good job of. His voice is one I can't pigeon hole, so I will just say that it is quite a deep voice and capable of holding a good melody.
In typical grand rock style, the album opens with One Step Closer.
This sounds remarkably close to the style of The Distance. There is a small connection there - the label and Delwyn Brooks who mixed both records.
Desperate Hours compares a little to early Survivor - strong vocals and guitar without going over the top. The songs rolls along comfortably.
Don't Walk Away is one of the album's standouts and a very good track. A big anthem chorus is the highlight of this mid paced keyboard filled AOR rocker. I like the instrumental break also.
Judgement Day is a cool moody mid tempo track. It the chorus comes and goes from the verse with little addition to the sound, save for some extra harmony vocals. Great effect.
Should've Been Me opens the ballad account. This also has a Heartland feel to it, but stands alone regardless. A mid tempo and mid sized AOR anthem. Some good vocals.
Taboo follows the route of the Harlan Cage album. Yep, the guys go guitar heavy, and relegate the keyboards to low in the mix, in this mid tempo hard rocker.
Fire Of Love continues to rock harder then the rest of the album, but not as intensely as Taboo. But there is a better chorus and overall melody to this track. A good anthem-ish tune.
Strongest Heart sees the album continue to get better and better. This is the only other ballad. Like Should've Been Me, it is not typical ballad fare, but a slow to mid paced AOR ballad. Some really good harmonies throughout this.
Strange Animal is an OK track. A mid paced rock song, the hooks are not quite as prevalent as some of the other tunes. However, I just love the way the song picks up tempo at the end. It turns into a real anthem with some blazing guitars that could have been even better had they kept going.
The Call makes up for that big time. In fact, this is my pick of the album.
A good pace, strong melodies, a big chorus and plenty of harmonies make this song.
Joanne ends the album on a high note. A good solid uptempo melodic pop rocker.
I have been playing this album a lot over the past few weeks and have to say it is a real grower.
It only adds to the high standard of release Escape have been keeping to.
And I must say that Escape's packaging has been of equally high quality. This looks really nice.
So if you are a fan of the label and keyboard filled pop rock albums, check this out now!
PRODUCTION: 84%SONGS: 83%VIBE: 85%ATTITUDE: 84%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All current Escape Music fans, plus solid hook filled keyboard style AOR fans.

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