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MIKE & THE MECHANICS The Road Sony (2011)

Mike & The Mechanics

A new Mike & the Mechanics album is never likely to be earth moving, on the evidence of past releases. This time round listeners will be pondering, where have the last seven years gone and what do the new vocalists sound like?

The band's last offering 'Wired' never yielded the usual quotient of radio friendly hits and there was joint billing with Paul Carrack who solely took over lead vocals after the sad death of singing partner Paul Young in 2000.

Mike Rutherford maintains the quality control but in truth it's all a little bland, and whereas 'Wired' introduced some surprising, rockier beats in its two instrumentals, 'The Road' plays to a rather more conservative and smoother approach.

'Try To Save Me' is the obvious single and is a standout but elsewhere it's just an inoffensive but inconsequential set of songs.

A collection such as this is perhaps a rarity these days but I can only think it will appeal to ladies of a certain age and bankers who really should spend their bonuses more wisely.

Perhaps this is a result of Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar's vocal styles. Roachford enjoyed success in the nineties as a R&B artist, the Canadian Howar on the other hand is little tested: he's primarily an actor. But for me, it's a little like Seal meets late-1980s Genesis. No, I wouldn't like that possibility either.

Whilst a new album is always a good thing for a tour (May 2011) I can't help thinking it's the earlier stuff that punters will want to hear. 'The Road' then becomes mere window dressing rather than a seriously good album in its own right.


Review by David Randall


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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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