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    If you were to ask me what my favourite albums of all time are, the list would probably take me a little while to think about.

     

    But one thing is for certain - Mr Big’s Defying Gravity album would definitely be on that list.

     

    Bringing together Mr.Big and Kevin Elson (Producer of the band’s first three albums Mr.Big, Lean into it and Bump Ahead), Defying Gravity is brilliant; an album of exceptional musicianship that combines different musical styles and stellar songwriting, culminating in the best album I have heard in years.

     

    The blues rock of ‘Open your eyes’ instantly gives you thrills. It’s energetic riffs roar through the speakers, paving the way for an outstanding opening track that sets the bar high for the rest of the album - and it’s an album that certainly does not disappoint.

     

     

    Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan’s guitar and bass are on top form throughout. If anything makes you want to pick up a guitar for the first time and learn how to play, the guitar solos and bass lines that flow through this album do. The outro of the last album track ‘Be Kind’ is one and a half minutes of sonic bliss. Gilbert’s solo exemplifies his exceptional technical ability as a guitarist, as the pace quickens and the solo reaches its thrilling climax.

     

     

     Photograph by William Hames

    From left to right: Paul Gilbert, Pat Torpey, Eric Martin and Billy Sheehan

     

    Pat Torpey and Matt Starr’s percussive rhythms throughout Defying Gravity are second to none and absolutely brilliant. The drums building up to the chorus during ‘Nothing bad (‘bout feeling good) are fantastic and lead up to the hook of the chorus perfectly, while the percussion during ‘Everybody needs a little trouble’ makes you want to clap your hands, tap your feet and get ready to sing along to what is undoubtedly one of music’s future rock anthems.

     

    The call and response during ‘Open your eyes’ (“Do you see the sun in the sky / Shining through”) is guaranteed to have audiences singing, while the group harmonies during the choruses of ‘Be Kind’ and ‘Nothing bad (‘bout feeling good)’ exemplify the band's amazing vocals. They're equally brilliant vocalists as they are musicians. The group vocals running through Defying Gravity are one of my favourite aspects of the album; giving certain tracks a sixties vibe, but with their own unique sound. 

     

    Eric Martin's vocals are phenomenal throughout, particularly during 'Forever and back'. Softly singing the verses, the dynamics change as Martin’s powerful vocals build in the chorus; almost as if the emotion that has been building in the verses is finally released. From crooning vocals in ‘Damn I’m in love again’, to the blues rock of ‘Nothing at all’ and the brilliant title track 'Defying Gravity', Martin is outstanding. He's one of music's great singers and one of the greatest of all time. 

     

    Song to song, the band’s musicianship is equally matched by the creative mastership of the songwriting. Lyrics such as “I brave the bees for the honey” call out to the adventurer in all of us; a feeling of living for the day and seizing the moment. There's some great lyrics on this album; words that resonate with you and lyrics you can relate to. 

     

    From the hooks of ‘1992’, to the brilliant staccato guitar in ‘Mean to me’ and Martin’s echoing vocals on ‘Forever and back’, Mr.Big and Producer Kevin Elson have created one of the year’s must hear albums - and one that is certainly a favourite of mine.

     

     

    To describe it using the song title of track four - Damn, I’m in love again. I'm in love with the melodies, in love with the songwriting and in love with this album.

     

    By Sarah O' Hara

     

    5 stars

     

    Defying Gravity is available now.

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