Saturday, January 19, 2019

Mike + The Mechanics (1985), by Mike + The Mechanics

What a contrast from the rough-around-the-edges vocal rock of Mike Rutherford’s 1982 solo album, Acting Very Strange!

The Genesis guitarist/bassist goes from acting very strange to acting very slick, giving his regular band a run for its money in terms of both quality and commercial success.

The first thing he does right is stick to his four- and six-strings and keyboards and relegate the singing to Paul Carrack and Paul Young.

Also, his songwriting is markedly improved, with searching lyrics and lush arrangements and sounds that combine Genesis, The Police, and other pop-synth sounds of the 1980s, resulting in a timeless new age rock sheen.

The obvious hit here is “All I Need Is a Miracle,” which was all over radio and MTV. However, the real standouts are the cinematic tour-de-forces “Silent Running,” “You Are the One,” "A Call to Arms," and “Taken In,” the latter two of which presage Mike + The Mechanics’ 1988 hit title track, “The Living Years.”

This was the beginning of a long and successful second musical life for Rutherford, who continues to perform with The Mechanics.

--Raj Manoharan

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