Six years since their last studio recording, Mike and the Mechanics have returned not only with a brand new album but a UK tour, a new line-up and have signed a new record deal.
The band’s seventh studio record, The Road features new vocalists for the band, in the form of Andrew Roachford and Tim Hower. Overall the album is a change in the band’s genre and whilst this may be different for loyal fans they will find some familiar Mechanics sounds within this eleven-track album.
Reach Out (Touch The Sun) is the first single taken from the album. With its explosive chorus and strong vocals from Roachford, it has the potential to make people take notice of the new Mechanics line-up.
Despite Rutherford’s talent as a guitarist, the album shies away from guitar-based tracks, preferring to rely on synths and drums overall. However, dedicated fans will recognise classic Mechanics sound in title track The Road – a well-crafted instrumental section with a catchy tune is the perfect track to introduce Roachford as the main vocalist on the album.
Try to Save Me is up-tempo and sure to put you in a good mood whilst Background Noise is much more subtle and reminiscent of ‘80s Mechanics. It is more of a ballad than the tracks before it, with vocals from South African singer Arno Carstens. With a catchy chorus and the appeal of an acoustic guitar, Background Noise more than deserves its place on the album.
Long-time Mechanics fans will find a comforting home in You Can Be and Heaven Doesn’t Care, both of which have more in common with the classic Mechanics sound. The band’s love of a choir, as seen in the band’s classic The Living Years, returns in Heaven Doesn’t Care. It’s the first track that ‘second’ vocalist Tim Howar leads on and the depth of his voice certainly suits the ballad’s big ending.
Carsten’s easy vocals are back on Hunt You Down; a track engorged with a keyboard’s organ sound; and simple lyrics that make the track likely to become one of the album’s earworms.
This album certainly benefits from the new voices involved and the shared vocals give the album a variety that some bands can only dream of. With a UK for 2011 to look forward to, there’s plenty to get excited about - long may the Mechanics reign…
© Smooth Radio, Glasgow