Mike & The Mechanics - A Closer Look video reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

A rather belated release this, the video appeared in the US at the beginning of 1990 and only gained a UK release at the end of the year which is surprising when you consider the success of the Mechanics in the UK and Europe. Never mind, better late than never as they say! If you are, like me, a video maniac, then this collection is for you. It features all of the promotional videos for the Mike & The Mechanics singles from both the eponymous first album and its successor: Living Years. To UK watchers it will be of particular interest for the two videos for the singles which were released only in the US: Taken In and Seeing Is Believing.

The compilation begins with the first single: Silent Running, a great song that certainly deserved better success than it achieved. The story line runs around the film for which it was the theme, and tells the story of a boy’s father who travels into the future and his efforts to warn those he leaves behind about what might happen if things don’t change - effective stuff!

Next up are two delightful cameo videos featuring the comic talents of the late Roy Kinnear who plays the band’s rather shifty manager. The first song is All I Need Is A Miracle and it also features Victor Spinetti as the gangster owner of a seedy nightclub who is so disappointed by the band’s playing that he threatens not only to keep the band’s equipment but also the guitarists’ right arm! What follows as Roy Kinnear tries to find the money to pay off this hoodlum is nothing short of comic genius.

Following on from this is the aptly titled, Taken In which continues the story with the band now on tour in the US and Mr Kinnear has arranged a house for the band to stay in and rehearse. There is only one problem : the family who live in the house are still in it and as the band set up to rehearse in the small hours, they are surprised to find an entire family as audience to the rehearsal!

The songs from the second album are strongly illustrated by the promotional videos but the element of comedy is gone. Nobody’s Perfect is a very direct song about the stresses and pressures of modern society and features a cameo part from the guy who played the tortured soul central to Yes’s Owner Of A Lonely Heart video back in 1983.

Nobody Knows and Seeing Is Believing are both straightforward shots of the band performing atop an American recording studio roof and in the desert somewhere in the US. This brings us up to the masterpiece that is The Living Years, an enormously powerful song, describing the emotions that are felt when a loved one dies. One of Mike’s strongest songs to date.

After the videos comes a short interview with the members of the band including a very disgruntled Adrian Lee who maintains (albeit jokingly) that Mike has been stealing his song ideas. It is an interesting view of how relaxed the band are and with the recent release of the Mechanics’ new LP, do yourselves a favour and “take a closer look” at Mike & The Mechanics.