Originally, this started out as a review of Newmen’s album New Low. It was expanded, cut, and then put on hold. And then, word came out – Friday, January 15, 2010 is the band’s last performance. And that really took the wind out of the review. So consider this, instead, an appreciation.
For the past couple of years, Newmen has brought the unexpected and the rare to Northwestern Pennsylvania – well-crafted pop music: not bar covers, and even breaking away from the fine original roots rock scene that has been developing here. Newmen has a sound. A good sound. The kind of sound that could explode out of the valleys of Pennsylvania that they reference so often in their work and appeal to a larger audience. And now, it comes to an end.
Newmen’s music has always showcased Jessie Proper’s gifts for lyrics. While uptempo numbers like New Low’s “Pavement” with it’s tale of motorcycle riding while a loved one holds tight seems light and lovely, it’s almost fairy tale like in it’s hidden elements of danger, or at least wistfulness. “Maybe some unseen adventure waited there for us / but at the point of no return / we turned around” . It’s hard not to think of Newmen as a relationship oriented band. In almost every song – the redemption is to be found not in oneself or one’s beliefs, but in the people (or person) that one loves. It is, as I’ve always felt Newmen’s work to be, undeniable hopefully in the end – just the way a good lo-fi pop song should be.
Selfishly, I’m upset. I had planned on asking them to play my daughter’s graduation party. But beyond that, it strikes me as another not too promising omen for the area – the closing of Brother Bean meant no more traveling national acts, and now another band calls it a day, admittedly leaving behind a beautiful discography and an inspiration to others.
Newmen plays their final show at Titusville’s Blue Canoe Brewery (113 S. Franklin Street (814) 827-7181) from 8-10 pm Friday, January 15, 2010.