Best known for his stint as guitarist in The Mighty Lemon Drops, an indie band at the forefront of the UK’s jangling power pop driven C86 genre, David Newton’s history includes involvement in nearly ten bands. It speaks to the fiery energy and innovation of his later solo artistry as David Newton and Thee Mighty Angels that the now L.A. based multi-talent is still going strong with that 11 years (and countless productions for other bands) later.
Only one problem – under this moniker, up till the current release of his fiery (thanks to a constant wildly hypnotic swirl of electric guitars and freewheeling synth textures) and lyrically insightful new album, he hasn’t released anything since the 2011 EP Paint the Town. Maybe he’s taking a jab at his overlong delay with the follow-up by titling it A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment, but he bridges that gap artfully by including all five tracks from the original EP as part of the colorful new presentation.
There isn’t much to praise COVID-19 for, but we can be grateful that the quarantine allowed him time to complete some half-finished songs and put them out. Focusing on the new stuff, we can apply the incisive lyrics of the infectious, high energy “The Kids Are Not Alright” and its haunting filtered vocal line “I fear for the future. . .and one thing’s for certain…the kids…” to the current daily news scroll. Though the production is sparkling and ultra-contemporary, there’s also an inviting nostalgic element to the collection, starting with the divinely boisterous “The Songs That Changed Our Lives,” which features Newton’s pal Eddie Argos (from UK band Art Brut) dramatically talk-singing and homage to old school influences, from “Young, Gifted and Black” to “I Want You Back.”
Also along those lines is the fast rolling, soulful sonic circus “My First Band,” whose “la la” chorus illuminates the carefree fun of being in a group at age 14. Those new tunes, along with the five ageless dazzlers from Newton’s solo debut EP, make time traveling a worthwhile endeavor – all the more important to engage our minds with as we’re going stir-crazy.
Listen to "The Songs That Changed Our Lives" here: https://open.spotify.com/album/0tOrmeEItvwhkx82RaCNgN