REVIEWER: GINO PUYLAERT
In 1991 Mr. BIG stormed across the world with their hit single 'To Be with You' which skyrocketed to #1 in 15 countries and has since become a staple on every hair band ballad collection.
The band comprised of all original members Eric Martin on vocals, Paul Gilbert on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and Pat Torpey on drums have reunited and just put the finishing touches on "What If", their first studio release with the original lineup since 1996’s 'Hey Man'.
"What If" takes the listener on a raucous ride through a forgotten time of excellent musicianship, great vocal harmonies and the feel good moments of life.
Well crafted songs with strong vocals, some gnarly bass playing by Sheehan mixed with plenty of tasty licks by Gilbert all locked in step with the top notch drumming of one of the best timekeepers in the business in Torpey.
Once the needle drops on the first track, “Undertow”, you might find yourself thinking it is the early ‘90s all over again.
"What If" could easily have been the successor to the meg-hit 'Lean Into It' from which 'To Be With You' was culled from.
“Undertow”, the first single, is a solid kick-off to the album and features a gritty guitar groove that chugs along to the chorus and back again until Gilbert starts finger tapping through a welcomed solo that highlights the song.
The second track, “American Beauty”, is a classic Mr. Big straight ahead rocker. This is what Mr. Big do best. Running with a deep bass line and a snappy snare drum mixed with great vocals and a smoking hot solo, this song will surely be a fan favorite.
After a deep breath, the disc hits the brakes with the melancholy lyrics of “Stranger in My Life” which could have been placed on any Loverboy record during the ‘80s and been right at home.
On “Nobody Takes The Blame” the band explores some new territories, this is a dark tune with an intrincated guitar solo and a deep bass. Martin remains one of the top vocalists in the melodic rock community and he shines on this track. There’s a reason he is bigger than Godzilla in Japan.
"What If..." is a very solid release from these veteran rockers from Los Angeles that have spent the past 15 years trying to get back into the music scene in the U.S.
They're still a #1 act in Asia, hope this new album (which will be available in Europe and America at the very beginning of 2011) puts this release in more people’s hands.
If you are a Mr. BIG longtime fan, you should really enjoy this album and if this is your first time around the block searching for first class melodic rock, there are several tracks that might have you scouring the record bins for their earlier material.
Eric Martin : Vocals
Paul Gilbert : Guitars
Billy Sheehan : Bass
Pat Torpey : Drums