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MR BIG What If... Frontiers (2011)

Mr Big

Having been a fan of the band since 1989's self-titled debut album, I was concerned how a new album from the recently reformed Mr Big would fit into 2011's musical landscape. However, from opening track, and the album's 1st single, 'Undertow' it was clear that I needn't have worried. 'What If...' is a modern sounding rock album, yet with that classic Mr Big feel- distinctly heavier in all the right places, maybe even a little dark at times, but definitely a record that will please the band's loyal fan base.

Produced by Kevin Shirley (Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Black Country Communion) the band's seventh studio album, and the first to feature the band's original line-up since 1996's 'Hey Man', 'What If...' is graced with the technically superior playing of bassist Billy Sheehan and guitarist Paul Gilbert throughout. Whilst vocalist Eric Martin doesn't sound a day older than he did in the band's early '90's heyday.

Several tracks hark back to 1991's massive selling 'Lean Into It', these include 'As Far As I Can See' and the slower 'All The Way Up', then we have the album's big ballad 'Stranger In My Life'. 'American Beauty' is reminiscent of 'Addicted To That Rush', 'I Get The Feeling', 'Still Ain't Enough For Me' and 'Around The World' are all great rock songs with the latter chock full of solos. However, it is the moody and powerful 'Undertow' that steals the show for me.

What If... is capable of propelling the band back into the limelight and there is not a weak track on the album - with the band sounding this good and seemingly getting along better than ever, fans can only hope that previous tensions within Mr Big don't resurface.


Review by Nikk Gunns


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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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