MR BIG – WHAT IF… (REVIEW)

Released 21st January 2011 on Frontiers Records

After last year’s excellent “Back To Budokan” Mr Big now present us with the first studio album since the reunion.

Opening track “Undertow” has all the typical Mr Big ingredients and sets the mark for the album. “American Beauty” is more up-tempo, referencing “Addicted To That Rush” if not quite so frantic.“Stranger In My Life” is an excellent power ballad. “Nobody Takes The Blame” is a slow paced grinder that sets us up for “Still Ain’t Enough For Me”, another fast track.
“Once Upon A Time” and “As Far As I Can See” introduce more groove to the proceedings.“All The Way Up” is the second ballad, and it’s another good one. Surprisingly, “I Won’t Get In My Way” sees some odd rhythms sneaking in, and sounds more contemporary overall.  “Around The World” takes it up a notch with arguably the most aggressive riffing so far.

The album ends pretty much the same way it started. “I Get The Feeling” once again combines all the required elements for a Mr Big tune. Bonus track “Unforgiven” is just that, a very nice bonus on an already brilliant album.

Obviously both the musicianship and production are beyond reproach. Billy Sheehan is a unique bass player who fills out the bottom while keeping things moving, allowing Paul Gilbert space to branch out with some spacious arrangements and of course insane lead playing. Pat Torpey is rock solid. Say what you will about Eric Martin, but his voice fits this music like a glove.
The guys made a Mr Big album, for better or for worse. Rather than reinvent themselves, they’ve included all the expected elements in a tasty platter. Swagger, melody and virtuosity all combine to make this a very pleasing album.

Rating – 92%
Review by “Green Tinted Belgian Mind” Sancho


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