Defying graviTy Frontiers Records ✪✪✪✪✪
Mr Big’s new album was as fast to record (a week) as the playing on it! Featuring 11 tracks, the quartet of Paul Gilbert, Billy Sheehan, Eric Martin and Pat Torpey still have it (Matt Starr drummed on songs that Pat couldn’t due to Parkinson’s disease). Joined by their early producer Kevin Elson, this is a colourful, vibrant and at times shred-tastic collage of great songs. Paul’s guitar is rich and warm but burns as few others can; Mean To Me may well be the band’s Addicted/Daddy/Colorado chops song with a precise double-time riff. Come solo time, Billy and Paul trade frying frettery until Paul takes off with blues phrases, searing bends and lickety-quick descending lines. If you want higher voltage, 1992 is thick with distortion, half-time riffage, octave melodies and blazing picking. As for the final track, Be Kind has a secondary ending that features Paul blazing as only he can. So yes, there are some great acoustic songs, stadium rockers and soaring vocals but we’re happy to report that the Billy/Paul combo is still serving up the goods.