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Lonely Robot: A Model Life
Lonely Robot - A Model Life Album Art

Lonely Robot: A Model Life

Melodic Progressive Rock
3.5/5.0

English multi-instrumentals, songwriter, producer, and vocalist is a man with many hats, gigs, and side hustles. He came to prominence with his work with Frost* and It Bites, ensemble bands. His skills and talents are also sought out be others as well. His solo work is equally prolific with Kino and The Urbane. Mostly, in the last seven years, Mitchell has devoted much time to another side-hustle, Lonely Robot. Begun in 2015, this creative outlet has produced three albums. Now Mitchell returns with his latest and fourth Lonely Robot installment, A Model Life.

John Mitchell Click For Larger Image

John Mitchell

This album arrives as a very personal recording. His lyrics reflect loss: the separation from his girlfriend of 16 years, and the deaths of several friends. All of which spoke directly to his heart. Essentially then, A Model Life offers listeners certain themes. One is simply Mitchell's cathartic reflection and resolutions (hopefully) to his emotions. It's not so curious that his previous album was entitled, Feelings Are Good. Hindsight being peculiar, but perhaps that album was foreshadowing future events. Second, the album title juxtaposes the reality of life and loss with the notion that life is not to be so. One's life carries on with pleasantries or simply magical and self-absorbed ideas of how life should be or that bad shit doesn't happen. If you are a person of emotion, reflection, and simple humanity, these themes with resonate with you.

Mitchell's music reflects these themes, particularly the latter. The album is inherently melancholy, introspective, and emotionally conflicted. The music also reflects Mitchell's characteristic musical elements: abundant synths and piano equally atmospheric and quirky, dutiful measured yet not harsh riffs, a smattering of guitar solos, compositions turning on melody, refreshing yet benign complexity, and Mitchell's constant vocal style. To the latter, not that his tone or timbre does not rise to meet his emotions, but Mitchell stills remains melodic, straight-forward, and calm. It's a calm that offer reassurance in light of the album's dramatic emotional context. Essentially, the listener has to be prepared for a sad emotional album where the lyrical themes can easily overshadow the musical creativity. That does not make a A Model Life a "bad", just one that your should be emotionally prepared for.

For something of an unusual comparison, and definitely not of the same genre, this album's approach reminds me of recent Witherfall albums. Witherfall wrote songs specifically speaking to the tragic loss of a band member and their (or the main songwriter's) way of dealing with the emotions of the tragedy. However, he and/or the band apparently could not get over the grief. Witherfall wrote two albums about the same. I get it (I'm an emotional guy under many circumstances): loss is difficult. But, introspective navel-gazing can also be a creative buzz-killer. I doubt John Mitchell will make this turn.

All in all, fundamentally, John Mitchell and Lonely Robot's latest venture, A Model Life is characteristic Mitchell: melancholy and creative melodic progressive rock, made even more melancholy by its lyrical themes: loss and one man's reflection upon the same. If you're a fan, you'll enjoy this album.



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The Take Away

John Mitchell and Lonely Robot's latest venture, A Model Life is characteristic Mitchell: melancholy and creative melodic progressive rock, made even more melancholy by its lyrical themes: loss and one man's reflection upon the same.

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