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Mr Mister - 'Welcome To The Real World' / 'Go On' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     October 25, 2016    
 
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Probably viewed as Pop/Rock two hit wonders, Mr Mister were actually four stellar musicians.

Probably viewed as Pop/Rock two hit wonders and mainstays of every Soft Rock compilation album ever released, Mr Mister were actually four stellar musicians who formed from the ashes of the late seventies West Coast/AOR band Pages, who featured singer/bassist Richard Page and keyboard wizard Steve George. Completed by inventive guitarist Steve Farris and percussionist par excellence Pat Mastelotto. MM had their fifteen minutes of fame but were ultimately too restless and artistic to copy their own winning formula, as these two records demonstrate.

They came out of the blocks with the neat and Poppy 'I Wear The Face' in 1984 and by the following year they had adopted a more dynamic hi-tech AOR sound for 'Welcome To The Real World', which gave them two US Number Ones and a Top 10 hit. Still a punchy and classic album to this day, the bright and breezy 'Kyrie' and beautiful ballad 'Broken Wings' are just two aspects of a varied band and were originally stuck away in the middle of side two (this was pre-CD kids!). 'Black/White' and 'Uniform Of Youth' are both dynamic and slightly off-the-wall, with stunning keyboard fills from George and the kind of offbeat drum signatures that Mastelotto would eventually take to King Crimson, but other tracks like 'Don't Slow Down', 'Into My Own Hands' and the title track all have Farris' killer guitar tone well to the fore. There are other chart worthy ballads in 'Run To Her' and 'Tangent Tears' and all the songs show why Richard Page was approached by Toto and Chicago, both of which he turned down to stay with MM. This re-issue sounds great too, with great separation of the instruments, a punchy bottom end, and is augmented by no less than six other versions of some of these songs. 'Kyrie' and '...Wings' are extended, there are two different edits of the Poppy 'Is This Love' as well as live versions of '...Wings' and '...Youth', all of which are neat but hardly essential.

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The sad fact that surrounds 1987's 'Go On' was that even if they'd used the same formula and sound as 'Welcome To The Real World', the changing faces at RCA had already told them they weren't a priority, even though they'd just sold over two million records. The band brought in U2 and Peter Gabriel producer Kevin Killen and took their time making an album that made good use of the production style he'd used on Gabriel's 'So'. It was more contemporary and different with sparse instrumentation that only really bursts into life on the choruses, like the brilliant 'Healing Waters' and the rhythmic 'Dust', and even the more upbeat offerings 'Stand And Deliver', 'Control', 'Watching The World' and 'Something Real (Inside Me/Inside You)' don't really hit you immediately. Great musicianship, vocals and production abound, but the hooks are more subtle and the songs are slow burners rather than attention grabbers. In many ways '...On' harks back to the mellower sound of Pages and I'd owned it a good few years before I even started to realise just how good it really is. The four bonus tracks actually include a great B-side called 'Bare My Soul' alongside a Rock/Dance mix of 'Something...' and different mixes of '...Waters' and 'Stand...'. One of the best sounding records of its kind, 'Go On' requires effort to get into, but it's worth it in the end,

Phil Ashcroft

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