Friday, January 11, 2019

Acting Very Strange (1982), by Mike Rutherford

Strange. Very strange indeed.

That voice does not go with that face.

On his last solo album before reassigning lead singing duties to others in his hit band Mike and the Mechanics, Genesis guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford belts out raw and throaty vocals on eight art rock/pop oddities that exude quirky but compelling weirdness.

The compositions and musical instrumentation are unsurprisingly very similar to Genesis, with a bit of Oingo Boingo and The Police thrown in for good measure. The latter comparison is not so much of a stretch, especially considering that one of the drummers is Stewart Copeland and that Acting Very Strange sounds like a distant cousin to fellow 1980s superstar guitarist Andy Summers’ one and only rock vocal record, XYZ, but jacked way up.

As for Rutherford’s earthy singing voice, it sounds like a mix of Peter Gabriel, Keith Richards, Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, Joe Elliott, David Lee Roth, etc.

This is not for every taste, but the title track, “Maxine,” and “Hideaway” (future shades of the Mike and the Mechanics hit “The Living Years”) are definite must-listens.

--Raj Manoharan

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