Album Review by EDF
After a five-year break where the only thing that has changed is not just the music scene, Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford has gone back to his somewhat successful side project Mike & The Mechanics. Quickly approaching two decades of hits, where does the group fit in with the likes of Coldplay and Gareth Gates? It will almost be true to say that their fans will not even know that this album even exists due to most TV and radio stations churning out their Top 40 rotated rubbish ten times a day. It is a shame as the group have attempted to change their sound to fit in with what most other groups are doing.
The opening track is also the first single released. ONE LEFT STANDING is a typical Mike & The Mechanics tune where Paul Carrack’s somewhat soulful vocals builds up to a multi-tracked chorus. Even though the track is mainly electronic, the guitar solo spoils the track. IF I WERE YOU sounds like a Dido track that is if she had a proper group backing her and the lyrics are of the ‘I’m not having a good time’ type. PERFECT CHILD is something that most fathers will relate to as the song hopes that the child will live a perfect life in the world and is similar to the group’s big hit THE LIVING YEARS. The title track is an instrumental mix of electronica and guitar that will not quite give the likes of Kraftwerk or Moby any sleepness nights but it would be a great track to be featured in a movie.
I DON’T WANT IT ALL, SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE and HOW CAN I are the sort of songs that you would expect from the group and would probably get played on Radio 2. FALLING is another one of those recovering from a broken relationship type lyrics with a big chorus and sounds like a forthcoming single. The instrumental James Bond like UNDERSCORE closes off the album, an album that really comes across as a mixed bag.
It is not a coincidence that out of the nine songs, the four best songs were co-written by other people – two by Sharon Woolf and the two instrumentals by Will Bates. These two people have managed to give the group an edge that is sorely lacking on the other tracks. It would seem that it was the group’s intention to sound both cutting edge on some tracks in an attempt to bring in new fans and still sound familiar to hang onto their older fan base but no matter what, they will still be huge in Europe.