Stuart Newman - Single But Defective
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: November, 2009
Stuart Newman is a young songwriter from Brighton. His album Single but Defective is a collection of melancholy, quirky folk-esque outpourings. It is immediately obvious that Newman makes music for the purpose of expression, rather than financial gain. Lyrically, he is sincere and straight talking. Musically, he treads a folky path with brief detours to other genres along the way.
Newman's tone and his use of double tracking on the vocals strikes a strong comparison to the earlier work of Bright Eyes. The lyrical content is equally as fragile and the performances are vulnerable. There a sense of self-control which sits hand in hand with this vulnerability, and he does not allow his emotions to take over. While this restraint matches the musical accompaniment well, it would perhaps be an interesting change of pace for Newman to unleash his emotions from time to time.
Single but Defective was produced single handedly by Newman and is very lo-fi with an authentic DIY sound. One advantage of self producing is that there does not need to be any form of compromise. As a result, Newman makes some interesting choices in the way of production. 'A-Negative' for example, includes the sound of someone sleeping layered on top of the vocal track, 'Cry Wolf' features a call-and-response type interaction between the vocals and overdubbed voices, whereas on 'High and Mighty' his voice has been shifted in pitch. These brave choices only add to the individuality of Newman's music and help to differentiate him from his peers.
This record will not be to everyone's taste. There is little in the way of commercial appeal and the focus is firmly on Newman's lyrics rather than impressive production values or pop hooks. For those who value the DIY approach, the art of self expression and anything lo-fi, this will be worth a listen.