REVIEW: A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment (LP) by David Newton and Thee Mighty Angles
Crushing us with potent, effervescent melodies in “Everything Is Just So.” Dazzling with a bit of controlled decadence in the groove we hear in “Bittersweet.” Starting a fire soon to burn out of control in “In Love and War.” Using texture to tell us a story in “Connect with You” as much as he does the rhythm in “Paint the Town” or even Eddie Argos’ guest vocal in “The Songs That Changed Our Lives.” David Newton is up to his old tricks in his new album with Thee Mighty Angels, A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment, and if you’re a fan of The Mighty Lemon Drops, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Newton is a melodic force to be reckoned with in “The Kids Are Not Alright,” the Paul Westerberg-style “My First Band” and “This Time,” and while you don’t have to be familiar with his legendary work in the post-punk community to appreciate this latest contribution, those who are will find tracks like “Avoid It” to be awfully difficult to put down once picked up for the first time this August.
There’s a lot of punch to the instrumentation in songs like “Everything Is Just So,” “Paint the Town,” “My First Band” and the Argos-featured “The Songs That Changed Our Lives,” but only to the point of creating some juxtaposition with the vocals as they’ve been mixed for our enjoyment in A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment. This is undisputedly an awesomely fluid record from top to bottom, but to be frank, I think a lot of the material here feels more akin to what you’d find on a mix acquired via tape trade than it does anything conceptually structured in the post-production process (a good thing, in my book at least).
You can tell that Newton has been spending a lot of time stateside in the last few decades, primarily because of the American indie influences he exhibits throughout “In Love and War,” “Avoid It” and “Connect With You.” There’s shades of Tim, Warehouse: Songs and Stories and a touch of My Heart Was Lost here, but the core personality in his original music with Blue Aeroplanes and TMLD remains fairly intact if you listen closely enough.
I’ve been a fan of David Newton’s collective works for a number of years now and came into this record with Thee Mighty Angels holding some pretty high expectations, but I’m pleased to report that A Gateway to a Lifetime of Disappointment is both everything and nothing like I thought it would sound like. There’s an immense college radio appeal to its tracklist, and something tells me younger alternative audiences are going to instantly click with the LP’s experimental faceting, but at the end of the day I don’t think any part of this material was designed with the notion of attracting a specific group of fans being the motivation for creation.
This is another smart look for David Newton, and all in all, a record I’d recommend every indie enthusiast check out before the summer has expired.