Mr. Big: ...The Stories We Could Tell
It's amazing how some bands can break up and then years later get back together, creating music just as fresh sounding as when they first formed, as if that dark chasm of emptiness never happened. Such has it been with hard rock act Mr. Big, who burst upon the scene in 1988, a super group with four stellar personalities that were sure to take the world by storm. Though the band achieved considerable success, they never quite became the overnight sensations that most predicted, and by 2002, the group splintered as the individual members went on to work in numerous projects over the years. In 2009, due to constant requests from their fans, Billy Sheehan, Paul Gilbert, Eric Martin, and Pat Torpey reunited, eventually releasing What If... in 2011 on Frontiers Records, a strong return to form and a signal that the band was back, better than ever. Here we are 3 years later, and the original line-up is once again back with another killer platter of melodic hard rock, titled ...The Stories We Could Tell.
All those elements we love about Mr. Big are ever present throughout this new release, such as the bluesy vocals of Martin, Gilbert's sizzling guitar licks, Sheehan's muscular, acrobatic bass lines, and the steady drumming of Torpey, coupled with the bands penchant for writing tuneful, soulful, yet hard hitting rock songs. "What If We Were New?", "The Monster in Me", "The Light of the Day", "It's Always About That Girl", and "Gotta Love the Ride" rock pretty damn hard but also contain some serious hooks, while those who stray towards the ballads will get a kick out of the catchy "Just Let Your Heart Decide", "East/West", and "Fragile". Both Sheehan & Gilbert really shine throughout, but their scorching interplay on "Satisfied", "I Forgot to Breathe" or the fun title track is just jaw dropping impressive without being overly showy.
That's kind of what has always been great about this band; they deliver serious chops without the music being just a shred fest, and Martin's powerful, Paul Rodgers influenced vocals add the right amount of blues & pop to their hard rock sound. ...The Stories We Could Tell is another prime example of Mr. Big doing what they do best, one memorable song after another featuring some serious musicianship and hooks galore. Keep it comin' guys!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Gotta Love the Ride 4:28
2. I Forget to Breathe 4:13
3. Fragile 4:37
4. Satisfied 4:41
5. The Man Who Has Everything 3:58
6. The Monster in Me 4:02
7. What If We Were New? 4:00
8. East/West 4:29
9. The Light of Day 3:22
10. Just Let Your Heart Decide 4:19
11. It's Always About That Girl 4:28
12. Cinderella Smile 4:56
13. The Stories We Could Tell 4:00
14. Addicted to That Rush ((Live) [Bonus Track]) 6:02
Added: October 15th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
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|Mr. Big: ...The Stories We Could Tell
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-10-15 15:15:27
Albums which are created under trying circumstances can often be troubled affairs made with the best of intentions, yet flawed from their outset. So when the announcement that Mr. Big drummer Pat Torpey had been diagnosed with Parkinson's almost coincided with that of the release of the band's eight album, The Stories We Could Tell, many hoped for the best and feared the worst. However I have to say that in the face of adversity, the foursome who make up this band, Eric Martin (vocals), Billy Sheehan (bass), Paul Gilbert (guitars) and of course Torpey on drums, have provided what may well go down as their best set of songs ever.
With Torpey suffering from a condition which would, obviously, challenge any drummer to operate at his peak, I have to take my hat off to Mr. Big and how they created The Stories We Could Tell, Martin, Sheehan and Gilbert jamming out ideas, before Torpey sat down with a drum programmer and basically talked his companion through every beat, roll and cymbal smash he would have played had he recorded the drums live. The results are quite stunning, Torpey's feel coming through seamlessly, and it has to be said the drums sound unbelievably real for having gone through this process. However all that would have been pointless had the songs themselves been under par, but the jamming trio certainly came up trumps on that score, the expected Mr. B sound infused with an authentic good time bluesy rock n' roll that you might have expected from this band but not quite so forcefully. The feel is of celebration, with the theme of the album coming from what happens when the four protagonists get together and share their on the road, or in the studio stories with each other. Not every song fits that mould, but the feel of sharing good times certainly does, each song a celebration of exactly what it is to spend life doing the things that you love.
"What If We Were New?" oozes with hip shimmying class, "Gotta Love The Ride" glides on a groove so smooth you could slide across the Atlantic on it. However with Martin punching out a simply superb vocal performance, Gilbert firing riffs and solos that simply never fail to capture the imagination and Sheehan proving that a superb bassist really is an underappreciated gem, you really can delve into …Stories at any stage and pick a winner. "Fragile" stomps and thumps in contradiction to its title, "Just Let Your Heart Decide", a slow grower, dances on Sheehan's dextrous bass-fretwork as Martin hits the vocal heights, while "It's All About That Girl" revives a Hendrix like loose tightness, as the closing title track utterly drips with a love of the blues and melodic heavy rock.
Sit down, unwind from the everyday struggles life always seems to throw up and ask Mr. Big to tell you exactly how it is, for The Stories We Could Tell is a joyous experience providing tales you'll want to relive again and again.
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