Mr. Big - 'Defying Gravity' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 04, 2017    
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While it's not their best work, as a huge fan I'll take a patchy Mr. Big record over nothing at all.

When Paul Gilbert rejoined Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey for a reunion of Mr. Big, they released the impressive 'What If...?' in 2011. Unfortunately, Torpey was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease for the underrated 'The Stories We Could Tell', resulting in him programming his drum parts, while Matt Starr was recruited to sit behind the kit for live dates.

'Defying Gravity' sees Starr join them on record for the first time, while Torpey contributes percussion and backing vocals. Reuniting with Kevin Elson, who produced their first four albums, I expected a throwback effort, particularly as 'Open Your Eyes' samples the line of "Okay, we're rolling" from 'Addicted To That Rush'. While it's a good song, the riff and structure reminded me more of the Blues-themed material from Richie Kotzen's era than MB songs with Gilbert on guitar. The title track has a decent hook, although it took me a few listens to appreciate the thin riff and sparse production, while the bouncy 'Everybody Needs A Little Trouble' is based around some fine rhythm work.

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'Damn I'm In Love Again' reminded me of Simon And Garfunkel, but momentum is lost with 'Mean To Me', the first MB song (ever) that I don't like – primarily due to the flurry of notes masquerading as a riff which infests the staccato, bland chorus. 'She's All Coming Back To Me Now' is also a filler for me, sounding like an outtake from Martin's 'Destroy All Monsters' album which I rated as his weakest. '1992' is much better, lyrically describing their success with 'To Be With You' via a powerful riff and great, harmony-laden hook line.

The album was made on a tight deadline, but there is a noticeable lack of a killer ballad, the closest thing is the average 'Forever And Back'. Nor is there an energetic Rocker like 'Daddy, Brother Lover Little Boy' or 'Colorado Bulldog'. All the Rock songs have a similar mid-tempo – the only time the band do Rock out is at the end of the Blues-infused 'Be Kind', which appears to have finished, before the group reappear for a two minute up-tempo outro to close the album.

Normally, liking nine out of eleven tracks is a result, but with these guys, I'm used to never needing the skip button. While it's not their best work, as a huge fan I'll take a patchy Mr. Big record over nothing at all.

James Gaden

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