Dale Newman has been Mike Rutherford's shadow for decades, playing roadie and sound engineer for Genesis and Mike + The Mechanics. So it's no surprise that the man's music has a strong influence on Newman's writing, even after two outings. Cubed is his third effort and sadly, it shows all the shortcomings of self-production. Newman handles all vocals, guitars, and keyboards, plus a lot of drum programming, bringing in drummers Keith Prior and Craig Burnell on only a handful of songs. Built track by track over cold, stiff, programmed beats, the songs definitely lack warmth, which is a pitfall for the kind of singer/songwriter pop music Newman writes. But where Cubed hurts the most in its duration. At 75 minutes, it stands as a monument of self-indulgence. Edited to half that length it would have been quite acceptable, but there are simply too many weak songs among the 17 included here. Newman's songs share affinities with Mike + the Mechanics ("Nothing Lasts Forever"), but also post-Roger Hodgson Supertramp ("The Devil After You"). On the other hand, his voice evokes a bluesman gone pop, like Bob Seger or Joe Cocker. His melodies have character, his lyrics hit right even though the topics aren't new ("Ice Cream Soldier" stands out on that count), but the man needs a band, and a producer, to keep him on track. The one-man-production-team idea can work out for guys like Bill Nelson, but Newman lacks the kind of edge or creativity that justifies such freedom.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture