Written by: Alex Green
The last time David Newton was playing under the “mighty” banner, the mighty in question were C86 legends The Mighty Lemon Drops. Arming himself with Thee Mighty Angels this time around, the former MLD guitarist breaks almost twenty-years of recorded silence with his new EP Paint The Town.
And it sounds like no time has passed at all.
An invigorating five-song dispatch that finds Newton stepping up to the mike for the first time, it’s hard to believe that he could keep songs this good in the holster for two decades. The infectious title track is propelled by a bass line that would make Peter Hook proud and its chorus makes it one of the catchiest songs of the year. “Bittersweet,” however, may be even catchier. An upbeat meditation on the passing of time that’s punctuated by pitch perfect call and response vocals while Newton counts down the seasons, “Bittersweet” is a blast of pop that gets more done in two-and-a-half minutes than most bands do in their entire careers.
Newton sounds positively gleeful and he commandeers every number with a musical alacrity that’s nothing short of masterful. Check out, “Everything Is Just So” which packs more pop muscle than any song in recent memory; “This Time” rolls into a big jangly love-fest and the ruminative “My First Band” is a genius indie rock re-reading of “Summer Of ’69.” Newton checks in ten years later than Bryan Adams, looking back to 1979 and his guitar wielding fourteen year-old self, recalling, “it was pure, it was perfect, it was poignant.” The song cascades into a soaring orchard of pop harmony that won’t leave your head for days.
David Newton is back, my friends.
We needed him.
Stereo Embers talks to David Newton about Paint The Town:
Stereo Embers Magazine: What have you been up to these past few years?
David Newton: After the last The Mighty Lemon Drops album Ricochet in 1992 (a U.S. only album that, umm, not many people bought, ha ha!), I did play with Blue Aeroplanes for a little while after that but when I moved here in 1995 most of the music-related work I did was on other folks’ records, producing/engineering etc, though I did collaborate/play in a few friends’ bands (Twinstar/Fonda/Straight To Video and not forgetting The C86 All Stars!).
SEM: How do you like fronting a band?
DN: It has always been a little awkward for me being a writer but not really fancying myself as a lead singer/frontman, & I’ll give credit to Paul in the ‘Drops because even though he didn’t write, he was the frontman I was never going to be. Basically just over a year ago (by no small coincidence, following a bit of a health scare!) I started getting all these song ideas & I just thought “sod it” let’s have a bash myself rather than having to rely on other people, which has been quite liberating, really. I always thought I should wait till I was 47 to finish up where the Lemon Drops left off…
SEM: And after you did give it a bash, did the results surprise you–did you think, “I should have been doing this years ago!”?
DN: Y’know, it did surprise me really! I had zero expectations, other than I wanted to see if I would be able to do it. I played it to some friends who were quite surprised, too. I wasn’t planning on releasing it initially–I was kinda bullied into it (ha, ha!), & I know it sounds corny but I have already achieved more than what I planned so anything here-on is a bonus.