Paul Gilbert and co are back with their new album “…The Stories We Could Tell”. In an age where amalgamations of genres is welcomed and the deep and surreal are at the forefront of our musical journey is there still a room for tinselled hard rock?
What many 80s bands re-emerging in the 2000s have struggled to do is reinvent themselves or grow under the current changing tides. However Mr. Big have shown how to be yourself whilst also evolving, and mostly showing off with some incredible musical partnership (See the middle section of ‘The Light of Day‘). With Billy Sheehan in the mix it’s easy to hear how Mr. Big still influenced his side-project (The Winery Dogs) with former Big member Richie Kotzen and percussion legend Mike Portnoy. It does not sound enough like it though however. Mr.Big still retains it’s anthemic and big sound with Paul Gilberts fantastic tone (as per) and the vocal harmonies backing up Eric Martin.
It is packed with the typical riffs you’d expect from Mr.Big (see the opening two tracks) but also has it’s cheesy moments. Normally brushed aside in another genre but a song like ‘Fragile‘ or ‘The Man Who Has Everything’ have a welcome place on a Big record. It’s balanced well however and after a drop in pace a track like ‘The Monster in Me‘ reignites the riffing fire.
This is some of the bands best material and decent music for newcomers to the genre. It’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s care-free. Once you’re hooked onto any of of the songs it’s hard not smile and just enjoy life, grab a beer and chill with some friends with some easy listening hard rock music. Should have come out at the start of the summer to enjoy in the heat.
Verdict – 7/10