Fireworks

CD Reviews

Mr. Big - '... The Stories We Could Tell' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/9f/61/9a/mr-big-the-stories-we-could-tell-25-1416775772.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 23, 2014    
 
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Superb.

Fans like myself were delighted to hear the original line-up of Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan, Pat Torpey and Paul Gilbert were going to follow up 2011’s ‘What If…’ comeback album with a brand new record, ‘…The Stories We Could Tell’. This news was tempered somewhat by the sad announcement that Torpey had Parkinson’s Disease and wasn’t physically able to play live.

In our exclusive interview with Sheehan last issue, he explained how Torpey had also been unable to perform his studio drum duties as normal. Rather than bring in a new drummer (which the band were fiercely opposed to), Sheehan explained how the drum tracks were programmed under Torpey’s personal supervision to replicate as closely as possible his playing style. I must admit, it was with some trepidation that I played ‘…Tell’ when it arrived, but I needn’t have worried.

There have been frequent comments that this was going to be a ROCK record, and the thunderous ‘Gotta Love The Ride’ ticks all the boxes. The ever youthful Martin sounds great, the guitar work of Gilbert is sublime and the distinctive bass of Sheehan, which gave MB “THAT” sound, is all present and correct. Then we have the drums – which sound absolutely incredible! It’s a true testament to the patience and painstaking detail that must have gone into it, as every groove and fill sound just like classic Torpey.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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All that would be pointless if the material wasn’t up to snuff, but with four skilled song-writers, the band are on fire. ‘I Forget To Breathe’ bounces along with great energy while the Rocker ‘Fragile’ is first class. ‘Satisfied’ sees MB rolling back the years as this would have been at home on ‘Lean Into It’ or ‘Bump Ahead’. Naturally MB include some ballads which they do so well; ‘The Man Who Has Everything’ and ‘Just Let Your Heart Decide’ stand up against any other ballads they have produced in their lengthy career.

The onus is very much on Rock though, as evidenced on the powerhouse ‘The Monster In Me’, the Bluesy swagger of ‘What If We Were New?’ and the breakneck ‘The Light Of Day’. Fanatics like me will find their ears prick up at ‘East/West’ which takes the original intro and opening lines of the 2001 B-Side ‘Here’s Looking At You’ and re-works it completely into a power ballad of the highest order.

Every song’s a winner and Pat Regan’s production retains the depth of sound found on ‘What…’ but adds more clarity. The band have faced extreme adversity and come through it with a record any group would be delighted with. It’s gusty, powerful, classy and a very welcome addition to their already impressive canon of work. Superb.

James Gaden

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