“Hearing Is Believing” - The Mike + The Mechanics album reviewed by Ted Sayers.

It may come as a surprise but Mike Rutherford (and his mechanics) have not stuck to the successful formula of the first Mechanics album. Thankfully the gamble has paid off, the album has radical differences musically speaking from the last one. The album does not bite immediately but, I was definitely hooked after a second play.

The first single (and opening track) Nobody’s Perfect sets the tone - rather quirky - an adjective which can be used to describe most of the music here. The title track; The Living Years is one of the strongest tracks with a great anthemia chorus which builds with the song. The theme of the song is very philosophical, revolving around not making the most of close relationships while they exist.

Seeing Is Believing is full of lyrical jokes but is in fact a great track. The humour in no way detracts. This album really does showcase two things in particular: just how far Mike’s guitar playing has come on since 1978 and indeed, matured and also what a strong pair of vocalists Paul Young and Paul Carrack are. Their vocal styles compliment the songs superbly. Both these things are on open view throughout the album, but nowhere more than in the last track on the album: Why Me? The track may be grandiose but it is a pearl of a rock anthem.

Just to prove I am not completely biased, I will end on a negative note. Firstly, the album does contain two rather weak songs (two out of ten isn’t bad!) in Black & Blue and Beautiful Day - neither are awful, but both are nondescript. Secondly, why does Mike insist on his little Phil Collins-type track? There is one on both of the albums now. Neither are bad songs, but surely Mike has his own style now and would be better sticking to it.