MIKE + THE MECHANICS – The Road (2011)

MIKE + THE MECHANICS - The Road (2011)

Multi-million selling Mike + The Mechanics surprisingly returns with a brand new album titled “The Road”.
Following a six-year hiatus and a massive reunion world tour with Genesis, Mike Rutherford has joined forces with new vocalists in the form of Andrew Roachford and Canadian born actor and singer Tim Howar for a new generation of The Mechanics.
The band’s classic, trademark sound is here, but Mike has added to some tracks a style that updates his music to the new millenium.

The album starts with the title song, an up-beat sweet poppy tune with a background organ and tiny drums, however, once the distortion kicks in for the guitar solo, dedicated fans will instantly be reminded of the elements of classic Mechanics. “The Road” introduces Andrew Roachford as a singer, a groovy vocalist.
“Reach Out (Touch The Sun)” is the first single of the album. The measured verse trudge through a song that explodes in the chorus. The song has hit potential – and you realize with a start that you didn’t really realize that the Mechanics have new singers. Andrew Roachford does a stellar job with the song, and he occasionally sounds more like Paul Young than Paul Carrack.
“Try To Save Me” follows the style of many ’90s Mechanics song – in fact, it could be the second single because it is perfectly suited to the radio. A catchy track again with Andrew Roachford on vocals.

The first example of the ‘new’ Mechanics is on “Background Noise”. A ballad based on acoustic guitar and lives off the catchy chorus. The singer on this number is guest Arno Carstens, a South African that is not part of the current Mechanics line-up. His soft vocal textures sounds relaxed, almost sloppy – a bit like Mark Knopfler. A very good track.
“I Don’t Do Love” is a typical Mechanics ballad with the potential to become a classic. This is the only song on the album that is a co-production of Mike Rutherford, Christopher Neil, Tim Howar and Andrew Roachford – these four are the core Mechanics. It is a song that had to be sung by Roachford. His voice fits the emotional dilemma that is described in the song.

When there is a choir on a Mechanics song you automatically think of ‘The Living Years’. “Heaven Doesn’t Care” it is one of the showpieces for the album. For the first time (and only on the sixth song!) we hear the second singer Tim Howar on lead vocals. He almost outdoes himself and roars out the song. Lots of depth, a great melody – a great song.
After a string of excellent, classy songs, “It Only Hurts For A While” is the quintessential interval piece. The song runs its course without anything special, not bad either, it is simply very middle-of-the-road. Sung by Arno Carstens.

“Walking On Water” is catchy song where the programmed rhythm part reminds you the band’s earlier works.
“Hunt You Down” is an easy up-tempo with a keyboard/organ line that sounds like of one of those you would have had as a child or a teen, but it sticks in one’s ears and proves just how strong a songwriter Mike Rutherford is.
On “Oh No” you can clearly hear the band’s updated style, looking towards modern sounds and contemporary production.
The album finale is a typical Mechanics track. It seems Mike has a special talent for ‘final songs’. A calm, organic melody with great instrument orchestration and a very good guitar work.

“The Road” is definitely a Mike Rutherford project, even more so than previous Mechanics albums.
The new voices and the time between this and the previous record have been good for the disc. There are three or four spots of brilliant songs, and the mixture of ballads and faster songs is just right.
Fans of eighties / nineties Genesis and Rutherford numerous solo projects, certainly will enjoy this soft rock CD. If you compare it with previous Mechanics offerings the album has touches of ‘Beggar on a Beach of Gold’, the classic debut album and (less so) of ‘M6’.
Good one.

01 – The Road
02 – Reach Out (Touch The Sun)
03 – Try To Save Me
04 – Background Noise
05 – I Don’t Do Love
06 – Heaven Doesn’t Care
07 – It Only Hurts For A While
08 – Walking On Water
09 – Hunt You Down
10 – Oh No
11 – You Can Be The Rock

Lead Vocals: Andrew Roachford, Arno Carstens, Tim Howar
Guitars: Mike Rutherford, Anthony Drennan, Martin Sutton
Bass: Mike Rutherford
Keyboards: Andrew Roachford, Luke Juby, Toby Chapman
Drums: Gary Wallis, Harry Rutherford (Mike’s son)
Hammond: Peter Adams
Programming: Mike Rutherford, Martin Sutton, Harry Rutherford
Background Vocals: Tim Howar, Christopher Neil, Hazel Fernandez, Beverly Brown Mary Pearce


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