David Newton & Thee Mighty Angels | Paint the Town EP (s/r)

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cd david-newtonThe Mighty Lemon Drops guitarist David Newton and Thee Mighty Angels here provide a near-perfect five-song release.



What is it with ’80s icons coming back at the top of the game? This year, it was Duran Duran with All You Need Is Now; last year, the new ones from Underworld, Nitzer Ebb, and Gang of Four ranked high on my playlist. Now we have The Mighty Lemon Drops guitarist David Newton and Thee Mighty Angels with a near-perfect five-song release.

Newton opens the disc with the title track, a shimmering mix of indie rock with ’80s influences (of course). His voice is strong and recognizable, the music inviting and addictive. “Bittersweet” keeps the guitars a-janglin’; the fact that Newton wrote and recorded the EP in California (where he currently lives) is apparent in the song’s catchy rays of sunshine.

“Everything Is Just So” could be by no one butNewton. Again, it’s fresh and retro; it’s also more reminiscent of the Drops than anything else on the EP. Next up, “This Time” just makes me happy. For some reason, I think of Christmas music: It’s jangly and upbeat, giving off a glow not unlike holiday lights. On “My First Band,”Newton takes a look back at what propelled him onto the charts, detailing the group’s creation, success…and disappointment. But never mind. Despite the highs and lows of The Mighty Lemon Drops’ career, here David Newton demonstrates that he’s never lost the fire. No matter the decade, his musical talent is undisputable.

Since the breakup of The Mighty Lemon Drops in the 1990s, Newton has kept busy producing and engineering a host of artists, among them The Little Ones, Everybody Was in the French Resistance, and The Hush Now. Whether you’re a fan of the Drops or new to Newton’s sound, this EP by a longtime legend is sure to occupy a prime spot on your iPod. Highly recommended. A | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, The Futureheads, the peppier side of The Cure

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