“Engine Trouble” - Word Of Mouth, the new Mike & The Mechanics album reviewed by Ted Sayers.
So, the much delayed Mike & The Mechanics album finally arrives - six months late due to production difficulties. The album heralds some changes, hopefully all for the good, in the band’s output.
The first notable difference shows on Word Of Mouth is that the band have joined Virgin Records. So, now all the members of Genesis past and present are on the label with the rather sad exception of Steve (but that’s another story).
Secondly; this third Mechanics album brings in some new writing partnerships. There is still the Rutherford/Neil/Robertson team,. But now Paul Carrack has added his not inconsiderable talents to it. Adrian Lee also co-wrote one track.
There is a stronger feel to this album. The first two quickly consolidated the band with the help of some excellent singles. Word Of Mouth is the band reaching maturity. That’s not to say that the first two albums were immature- far from it!
The album draws on all that has given the band a recognisable style, and extends it. Get Up, the album’s opening cut is a supreme example with the band in “get down” mode. Possibly the best track on the album, Get Up is worth the album price alone. The single (and title track) is fairly representative here, as a song that grows with each time you listen to it. Many of the songs on this album need to be allowed to grow on the listener but the effort is worth it.
I said in my review of Living Years that the band seem to insist upon including a Phil Collins-style track. Well, they have insisted again: Everybody Gets A Second Chance is musically a re-write of Phil’s Two Hearts. The big difference this time is that the song is a rather pleasing track, but that drum beat - it’s Two Hearts all over again!
With all the production difficulties, the band actually returned to the Rutherford/Neil team for about half the tracks also bringing in Russ Titelman (who worked with Eric Clapton) on the other half. The result is crystal clear, but once again, the strongest point is the use of voices of the two Pauls. They just get better and better! Both vocalists give their all which is unusual today.
Before (The Next Heartache Falls) closes the album and draws from the bands’ biggest single to date. The whole style carries vague echoes of The Living Years though, lyrically it is totally different. They can be forgiven as the song is something special in itself. Enjoy it, it could be a while before the next one!