Inside Out Music [Release date 28.04.17]
After a two year wait we get the second part of the trilogy from Lonely Robot, aka John Mitchell (Frost*/Arena/It Bites). He again plays all instruments bar the drums, played by the ever reliable Craig Blundell and Bonita McKinney adds her vocals to a couple of songs. The first album ‘Please Come Home’ made my top ten of 2015 with ease, so no pressure here then Mr Mitchell!
The story continues and it is best expalined by John Mitchell himslef – “The Astronaut wakes up from a cryogenic sleep but finds he’s no longer in space, and is instead in a woodland area surrounded by a group of strange people with animal heads! It’s a little surreal, a little ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to some extent.” The album benefits from a big Sci-Fi feel, with ‘Prologue (Deep Sleep)’ ushering in the album and following on from where ‘Airlock’ started the debut album off.
There is no instant hit like ‘The Boy In The Radio’ on the debut album (and indeed less guest musicians), however ‘Awakenings’ and ‘Sigma’ both benefit from memorable melodies and choruses. Craig Blundell’s drumming is something else on ‘Awakenings’, simply jaw dropping.
‘In Floral Green’ is a lighter moment and Mitchell’s melodic singing greatly add to the song. He does really excel at producing these gentle and melodic songs, with ‘Hello World Goodbye’ being another fine example on this album. The relentless beat and special effects vocals on ‘Symbolic’ took a little while to appreciate, although the guitar solo is one of many fine ones throughout the album.
The title track links back to the debut album with the plea to the lonely robot to come home and is the ‘prog epic’ on this album, although John Mitchell never goes for those endless noodling songs beloved of some progressive artists.
The theme of sleep/stasis and what happens during it, runs throughout the album and like any good lyrics gets the listener thinking long after the music has finished. The whole album holds together perfectly and yes it is another album I am sure that will make my year end top ten albums with ease. Fascinating to see where the next and final musical instalment of the Astronaut ends up, until then we have this album to savour and enjoy. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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