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IT BITES The Tall Ships Inside Out (2008)

It Bites

It Bites are back albeit without Francis Dunnery and in his place John Mitchell (Kino/Arena) takes over on guitar/vocals joining original members John Beck (keys) and Bob Dalton (drums) - the latter two were also involved in Kino. Original bassist Dick Nolan was initially involved but left after various issues and the bass duties are spilt between the two John's on the album.

Whenever a band changes a vocalist you always have concerns as a fan that the band's sound may radically alter but have no fear as John Mitchell fits seamlessly into the band. Opener 'Oh My God' starts of with some gorgeous vocal harmonies and keys making for a classic It Bites tune.

You can't get the damn tune out of your head! 'Ghosts' keeps the pace going and again it is so good to hear Beck's keyboards meld so well with John Mitchell's vocals and guitars plus drummer Bob Dalton keeps the beat running along nicely. ‘Playground' and 'Memory Of Water' first saw light of day on the band's live album 'When The Lights Go Down' whilst the title track is a majestic piece that builds again on the keys/guitar. 'For Safekeeping' is one of those quieter songs that suit John Mitchell's voice down to a tee and the listener can revel in the lovely piano used throughout.

The band do stretch out into epics including the eight minutes of 'The Wind hat Shakes The Barley', again this has a very catchy chorus and musically could have come of the Kino album. 'Great Disasters' would be a hit single along the lines of 'All In Red' and shows the band's great pop sensibilities. But the big epic is the thirteen minute delight that is 'This Is England' which starts with a gentle vocal by John Mitchell before the music kicks in and midway through the song goes off on another musical path. A definate move forward for the band's sound.

This album is a good as I hoped it would be and more. John Mitchell fits the band's sound like a glove and this album is as strong as, if not better than 'The Big Lad In The Windmill' or 'Meet Me In St. Louis'. Kino's album was one of my top five albums of 2005 and this album will easily make my top five for this year (no mean feat when you consider the amount of great music released this year). Hopefully this will mark a new chapter for this band and if you have not experienced the band's music before then this is a good a place as any to start.


Review by Jason Ritchie

Best of 2008


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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