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  LONELY ROBOT
'Please Come Home'
(inside Out)
Release Date: 23rd February 2015


Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland



lonely robot

John Mitchell, like many guys involved in the world of prog these days, is a busy man with a lot of ideas to get out of his system.

Best known for his work with It Bites and Arena there have been other releases with Frost and KINO and now he's decided to go out almost entirely on his own with his latest idea, Lonely Robot. This time he has written all the songs and done almost all of the instruments and vocals himself. He even set out what was required from Craig Blundell's drums.

All this may sound a little self indulgent, a master musician showing off his skills but that's not what Lonely Robot is about. This is not the sort of progressive rock which is about complex time changes and fiendishly technical playing. This is the sort of progressive rock which is about atmosphere, epic, lush instrumentation, melody and creating an atmosphere to allow a concept to breathe and develop.

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Fans of It Bites will inevitably hear little familiar styles and sounds here and there but Mr Mitchell has mixed in an almost commercial flair and a vibe that's a little Alan Parsons Project at times. 'God Vs Man' is heavy without being Metal and intense without losing its melodic grounding and 'Oubliette' has a chorus that just screams put me on the radio before getting all spacey and epic in the middle.

The latter song features Touchstone's Kim Seviour duetting with Mitchell's melodic tones and of course this sort of musical endeavour lends itself to guest appearances. Elsewhere ex-Mostly Autumn singer Heather Findlay adds some breathy melody to 'Why Do We Stay' but other performances are less obvious. Steve Hogarth from Marillion is only heard on piano and backing vocals and the guitar solo on 'Humans Being' is from 80s pop star Nik Kershaw.

lonely robot

Despite the presence of Mr Kershaw the song is more a lush ballad with echoes of Barclay James Harvest maybe than anything 80s pop and the same can be said of the guitar hooks and lush atmosphere of 'The Boy In The Radio' despite the duet on this song with Go West's Peter Cox.

The music is all beautifully constructed and alongside some tuneful majesty like the gradual building of tension through 'Are We Copies' and a somehow understated grandeur in 'A Godless Sea' there is narration from English actor Lee Ingleby to help you try to work out the concept. It has something to do with how remarkably advanced some ancient civilisations were but half the fun of an album like this is working out the story and I'm only half way there so far.

lonely robot

'Please Come Home' is an excellent and often fascinating album. John Mitchell's imagination has come up with a sound which references prog past while sounding thoroughly modern at the same time. Some parts are very open and melodic and even mainstream radio friendly but at the same time there are depths and complexities it will take time to fully explore plus that mysterious concept backed up by the oddball promotional pictures that came with my copy.

I liked this album a lot and I hope there are more like it to come. If modern prog is your thing this is music you have to check out.

Line Up:
Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards – John Mitchell
Drums – Craig Blundell
Additional Bass – Nick Beggs

Guests on the album: Peter Cox, Jamie Finch, Heather Findlay, Jem Godfrey, Steve Hogarth, Lee Ingleby, Nik Kershaw, Rebecca Neew-Menear and Kim Seviour.




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5.2.15











 


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