Mr Big – Defying Gravity (Frontiers)

Mr Big – Defying Gravity (Frontiers)

Formed in the late 80s (this is the US super group, not the 70s British band), all four members were (are) virtuosos. Bassist Billy Sheehan was fresh out of Dave Lee Roth’s band, Pat Torpey had worked with Ritchie Kotzen and Robert Plant, and Paul Gilbert has played guitar with Racer X and Neal Morse. The band have had a lot of hits along the way, with To Be With you topping the charts in many countries.

This is their new album, the eighth studio outing, and what a wonderful slab of hard rock it is.

Sadly Pat Torpey is unable to drum to play due to suffering Parkinson’s, so has worked with a programmer and with live drummer Matt Starr (of Ace Frehley’s band).

Open Your Eyes kicks off the album and is classic American hard rock from the start. It has a fine groove that hits immediately, yet equally bursts of virtuosity that shine through. The title track stands out with a perfect balance of blistering power and melody. With Sheehan’s lead bass style, there’s fine work with the Gilbert’s guitar that fills the airwaves.

Everybody Needs A Little Trouble has a slightly chunkier feel, a little rough, while I’m In Love Again has an uplifting feel with an acoustic guitar, adding a balance to the album’s feel. Vocalist Eric Martin still has power and range, and the rhythms are great.

1992 runs to just over 5 minutes (most are in the 3-4 minute range), and showcases some excellent shred and mood changes.

The closing number Be Kind runs to over 7 minutes and is a fantastic track. Proof that the band should do this more often, they are good enough musicians and song writers to experiment a little more like this.

Overall a wonderful listen beginning to end and should attract new fans as well as be snapped up by existing fans. 8.5/10

Joe Geesin

Eric Martin – lead vocals

Billy Sheehan – bass, backing vocals

Pat Torpey – drums, backing vocals

Paul Gilbert – guitar, backing vocals

Matt Starr (live) – drums

A European tour in November with support from The Answer and Faster Pussycat

includes six UK shows. Dates and ticket info are as follows :

16.11.17  NOTTINGHAM Rock City

17.11.17  NEWCASTLE Northumbria Institute

19.11.17  LONDON O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

21.11.17  MANCHESTER Academy

22.11.17  GLASGOW O2 ABC

23.11.17  WOLVERHAMPTON Wulfrun Hall

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Mr Big – Defying Gravity (Frontiers)