Mr. Big return with their ninth studio recording, and it is so nice to hear new music from these guys.
With all the original members intact, they once again have made an incredible Mr. Big album like only they know how to do. Bluesy when needed, rocking when desired, guitarist Paul Gilbert shines again here along with bassist Billy Sheehan, lead singer Eric Martin, and drummers Pat Torpey and Matt Starr.
I say drummers because of Torpey’s Parkenson’s disease, that he was diagnosed with recently, resulted with the band recruiting Matt Starr to perform with them as an unofficial fifth member; as Torpey was greatly limited playing on the album.
“Open Your Eyes” starts off this album and you can hear the blues all over it from Gilbert, who used to be a speed guitarist’s dream in his former band Racer X, but here he channels BB King. Martin is an underrated singer and always has been. His raspy voice has fit this band like a glove, and this new album is proof enough again to that statement.
“Everybody Needs a Little Trouble” is literally just an all-out fun song to listen to with its clapping and groovy like choruses. Sheehan and Gilbert feed off each other perfectly. “1992” is a song that reminded me of exactly that. It’s a song Gilbert wrote and sounds like something that could have come from 1991’s Lean into It. The lyrics and melodies made me feel 22 again. Producer Kevin Elson might have had something to do with that as the band hasn’t worked with him since their third album.
Defying Gravity is just pure fun to listen to and I highly recommend it if you are looking for something new or just long to hear Mr. Big music. They just came off a small US tour and will be hitting the road overseas, but look for them in the fall to return for a few more shows here. Check out the interview with Paul Gilbert on Shockwave in the coming week as well.