As if he isn't busy enough. While his principal gig is It Bites, vocalist, guitarist, and composer John Mitchell also spends time with Frost, Kino, and Arena, among other UK prog outfits. So he thinks, I've got a few hours here. I think I'll knock out that solo project that I've been procrastinating about for some 20 years.
Well, maybe not in a few hours. Here's Mitchell's Lonely Robot project and Please Come Home. Excepting a core rhythm section and some guests, Mitchell basically steers the project and handles the other instruments. It's also a concept album exploiting his fascination with sci-fi, specifically the idea of aliens visiting Earth in man's early development, the first millennia CE. You can read more about this, the album details, guests, and the meaning of the band name at the InsideOut Music artist page.
Musically, Mitchell doesn't veer far from his progressive rock roots of the last 20 years. This is not to suggest that Lonely Robot sounds like Arena or It Bites, by example. But rather that the core characteristics of light technicality, good melodies, strong song composition, and good musicianship are abundant. If anything there's a certain atmosphere or tone to the entire album. It feels and sounds sci-fi-ish. But this isn't space rock; don't think Hawkwind. But there is an ethereal, otherworldly, atmosphere whether by the vocal arrangements or Mitchell dramatic and piercing guitar solos that embellish every song.
Some the best songs here, and my favorites, are those with guest vocalists. The Boy In The Radio features Peter Cox from Eighties pop band Go West. It's an excellent fit as the song a real fluid melodic rock bounce not unlike music from the Eighties. Heather Findlay sings in duet with Mitchell on Why Do We Stay. She offers her light passionate vocals to song that uses those voices, piano, and a soaring guitar solo to express it's inherent motion. On Oubliette, Kim Seviour of Touchstone brings her smooth melodic vocals to compliment Mitchell, notable in the refrain. The song itself sways between the melodic pop rock accessibility and a large symphonic anthem.
After these things, everything else is simply delightful and entertaining melodic progressive rock, with Mitchell expressing his creative musical chops. Additionally, Craig Blundell's drumming deserves mention, adding to the atmosphere and liveliness of the album. Alternatively, there are times where Mitchell's vocals seem muted as within God vs Man or Lonely Robot, but I think this is intentional. Then there's this weird bit of narration, spoken word, throughout the album, by English actor Lee Ingleby. It's supposed to be some glue to hold the concept together, but becomes something you'd much rather ignore. Nevertheless, John Mitchell's Lonely Robot and Please Come Home is exceptional melodic progressive rock, and a work he should be proud of. Easily recommended.
John Mitchell's Lonely Robot and Please Come Home is exceptional melodic progressive rock, and a work he should be proud of. Easily recommended.
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