Mike + The Mechanics
Out of the Blue (2019) ***
Mike Rutherford – Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming
Andrew Roachford – Vocals, Keyboards
Tim Howar – Vocals
Anthony Drennan – Lead Guitar, Bass
Gary Wallis – Drums
Luke Juby – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Clark Datchler – Keyboards (3)
Paul Meehan – Keyboards and Programming (1 & 2)
Priscilla Jones-Campbell, Bryon Jones, James Thompson, Joy Malcolm – Choir (4)
Produced by Mike Rutherford and Paul Meehan
Recorded at The Farm Sand Drungewick Studios by Harry Rutherford
Mixed by Mike Rutherford and Nick Davis
Matered by 360 Mastering
1 One Way (Rutherford/Roachford/Datchler) ****
Strong opener with a classy chorus and wonderful vocal from Roachford. The best of the three new songs on the album.
2 Out of the Blue (Rutherford/Roachford/Datchler) ***
Typical Mechanics sound with a neat arrangement and sturdy chorus, but just doesn’t stand out as having anything new to offer
3 What Would You Do (Rutherford/Roachford/Datchler) **
The programmed intro is reminiscent of the failed Rewired experiment. Pleasant enough, but again lacks any distinguishing elements.
4 The Living Years (Rutherford/Robertson) ****
The band’s best-remembered song is still an affecting ballad, delivered here with a soulful interpretation by Roachford. The acoustic arrangement on the bonus disc gives a different arrangement and perhaps more heart-wrenching vocal from Roachford.
5 Beggar on a Beach of Gold (Rutherford/Robertson)) ***
Tim Howar may lack Paul Young’s range but there is an energy to his performance of this classic Mechanics track.
6 Get Up (Rutherford/Carrack) ****
Probably the only one of these recordings to actually improve on the original.
7 Another Cup of Coffee (Rutherford/Neil) ***
Almost a carbon-copy of the original but Carrack’s version cannot be bettered.
8 All I Need is a MIracle (Rutherford/Neil) ***
Again Howar energetically takes on a song that Paul Young made his own both on record and live. A good effort.
9 Silent Running (Rutherford/Robertson) **
Minus the atmospheric introduction, this pales in comparison to the original. Roachford’s soulful vocal interpretation is solid.
10 Over My Shoulder (Rutherford/Datchler/Howar) ∗∗∗
Like “Another Cup of Coffee”, this treads the same path as the original down to the whistled chorus. Adds nothing new.
11 Word of Mouth (Rutherford/Neil) ****
Has the live feel of the original and is again sung with passion by Howar. Enjoyable closing rocker.
Mike + The Mechanics’ ninth album is a strange concept mixing three new songs with eight re-recordings of old favourites that are a staple of the band’s live set. The new songs are passable but lack the freshness of most of the songs on Let Me Fly. The decision to re-record some old favourites to make up the bulk of the album is a bold move. Unfortunately, most of these re-recordings merely restate the live arrangement and are therefore largely redundant. Why not just release a live album? The only real purpose would be to support the re-invention of the band, which has been touring successfully in this new combination for the last eight years, and prove to listeners the new line-up can handle the old material – which it can. The deluxe version of the album has a second CD with six lo-fi acoustic recordings including a wonderfully evocative piano-led arrangement of “The Living Years” sung with real emotion by Roachford.