Escape Music [Release date 24.04.20]
The Compass story began back in December 2017 when singer songwriter Steve Newman decided to write a few songs that musically would step outside the barriers imposed by many years writing for his own band Newman. Also Steve Newman wouldn’t be singing either, instead he recruited Ben Green into the Compass fold. Rounding out the band are long time Newman bassist David Bartlett and drummer Toni Lakush. The album was recorded during 2019 and now gets a release via Escape Music.
The title track is the most instant, from the catchy chorus through the gloriously addictive keys/guitar riff. Clocking in at over nine minutes the song seems to fly by as the listener is drawn along by the strong melody.
Ben Green is a find, possessing a clear and precise vocal, with plenty of power and melody. None more so than on ‘Neon’, the nearest to a typical Newman song on here, or the excellent upbeat melodic prog of ‘The Preacher and The Pigeon Feeder’. The latter features stunning guitar solos, switching from laid back Gilmour-esque to a more frantic prog metal style.
‘A Warning From History’ has an It Bites start to it, before settling on a Rush like backing. Steve Newman has neatly pulled in various prog influences to create an impressive sound on this and indeed the whole album.
Compass is something a bit different from Steve Newman, which was his aim at the outset. It still has plenty of melody, added to which is a more progressive air reminiscent at times of It Bites, Sound Of Contact and Dream Theater. A grower of an album, as often albums that you keep coming back to are, and mightily impressive. Let’s hope there is enough interest in the album to warrant another album or two. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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