Mike & The Mechanics "Rewired" album reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

There has been a lot of speculation about the future of Mike & The Mechanics especially after the untimely demise of Paul Young in 1999. It seemed unlikely that the band would pursue any further recording activity but Mike and Paul Carrack have cranked up the engine for a further outing and Rewired is the result. Is it mechanically sound? Well, we shall see….

The album opens up with One Left Standing, which I certainly did not recognise as either The Mechanics or indeed Paul Carrack. The band had let it be known that they wanted to try something different and this was certainly it! The grinding effects tracks and minimal guitar certainly give a different slant on the music!

If I Were You continues this trend… Carrack's Jazzy vocalisations tinge the track but once again there is little that is recognisable as Mike Rutherford in this track. Perfect Child takes this disconcerting trend even further; this track belongs on a Carrack solo album as far as I am concerned and is not really representative of The Mechanics ethos of moods and atmospheres.

Rewired, the album's title track takes the experimentation still further with a totally "Industrial" instrumental which is a really irritating track. The Mechanics' instrumentals have been few and far between (in fact there hasn't been a Mechanics instrumental and now I can understand why!) with the emphasis being on "songs" and this track is hardly deserving of a place on a Mechanics' album in my opinion let alone to be the title track!

I Don't Want It All is thankfully, more representative of the traditional Mechanics' sound… harking back to several of the vintage tracks from Beggar On A Beach of Gold. How Can I (no, not the Hackett track) is next… starting with some basic effects. A slow tempo song once again more in the Carrack solo mould but a pleasant song if nothing else.

Falling is another poor effort; the emphasis is heavily on effects and noodling and it is difficult to detect anything that resembles the Mike Rutherford or Mechanics sound which I have come to love over the years. This, in turn is followed by Somewhere Along The Line which is the only song on this album which has its feet firmly wedged in the Mechanics ethos. A superb ballad which should be a single!

The album is rounded off by the second instrumental: Underscore which once again is a mainly rambling affair of effects and "scratching" deeply irritating and in no way a suitable end to a Mechanics project.

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Sorry folks, I never thought that I would say this… this is the worst effort by The Mechanics by a LONG way! In fact, to be honest I do not really think that this deserves to bear the title of a "Mechanics" album. It is, with the exception of one or two tracks; unmitigated crap! The additional DVD of interpretations of the songs is a novel twist but not sufficient to mitigate for the poor quality of the music itself. In my honest opinion (and one which I will no doubt be taken to task for); Paul Carrack has used this project to indulge himself in a solo outing which he himself would not release as a bona fide Paul Carrack album because it would be held up to the ridicule it so richly deserves and has succeeded in dragging the good name of a band I love through the mediocrity of so-called "experimentation to produce an appallingly mediocre effort into the bargain! Mind you; Mike has to bear his share of the responsibility too. This is YOUR band, Mike and you are capable of better things. If this is the best the "Mechanics" can come up with then maybe it is time to close the garage door for good!