The country overtones that begin “Dead Man’s Shoes” colour this disc from the outset, with individuals only needing a few seconds to get a first impression from Mark Newman. However much of a country influences may be during the beginning few minutes of “Must Be A Pony”, there are equal hints of indie and rock present, to increase the amount of listeners considerably. The blend of country and funk that is present during “What She Does To Me” is something else that Newman adds to keep individuals interested in the music issuing forth from the CD player.
The tracks are all vaguely ready for pop radio, but there seems to be something in congruous present in “What She Does To Me” with the rest of the track, making it hard to fully accept it. However, the guitar works that is found towards the end of this track brings this track to levels that it had not achieved previously. The one thing that is noticeable about the first third of the CD is that the tracks exceed what would normally be considered “proper” runtimes. If Newman was providing more in the way of variation in eir tracks, the extended length would not be a problem. However, a number of arrangements during tracks like the title seem to just fall back on the same constructs that are present throughout the track.
The country kicks up a notch with “Hard In the Rain”, which is one of the few tracks on the first half of the CD that sticks to a short enough runtime to not put off listeners. That means that Newman can continue to use a high amount of repetition, but not run into a problem of repeating eirself too many times. “Mean Season” breaks almost completely with the country that has threaded itself throughout the entirety of the disc, and shows Mark Newman as a fan of Mr. Mister, Don Henley, and Bryan Adams. There are hints of strong tracks throughout “Must Be A Pony”, but a number of the songs try to push forward a sound that does not have enough different approaches to a problem – how to keep individuals interested – to make these tracks categorizable as a success. Add some other influences to this disc and the results would be much stronger; I have no doubt that Newman could create an album that is strong in terms of cohesiveness as well as track diversity.
Top Tracks: Mean Season, Little One
Mark Newman – Must Be A Pony / 2006 Danal / 14 Tracks / http://www.marknewman.us / Reviewed 22 December 2006