Sentient Sonics


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Between 1980 and 1982, Newman released a brace of solo albums which continued to push several envelopes. Newman’s 3rd album Not To (1982) is probably the finest of them all. Now, for the first time, the album has been completely remastered and augmented with a whole additional disc of unreleased tracks.

Not To sees Newman developing his distinctive art-rock in a more melodic pop direction. Songs such as the gorgeous ‘Lorries’ with its chiming Byrds-like guitars and serpentine bass line, or the reflective ‘Remove For Improvement’, contribute to an album with a strong psychedelic sensibility - complete with an unexpected Beatles cover – a deeply woozy take on George Harrison’s ‘Blue Jay Way’.

Other highlights include the beautiful, meditative title track and the minimalist stream of consciousness of ‘Truculent Yet’. Where Newman’s previous albums had foregrounded studio experimentation, Not To keeps the focus clearly on the band dynamic. For this reason, the collection of songs has a timelessness which many albums of the period lack. Contemporary reviews were unstinting in their praise. NME called it “icicle-cool pop”. Hot Press described it as “Newman’s most commercial offering to date,” adding that “this man could be a major force”. Whilst Melody Maker summed it up even more neatly: “Originality and a determined lack of compromise… what more could you want?”

What shines out from both Not To itself and these demo recordings is an abundance of ideas and approaches, showing an artist with an ever evolving creative drive