Mr Big “…The Stories We Could Tell” (Frontiers Music)
A US rock super group combining musical virtuosity with virtually irresistible catchy melodies and harmonies, Mr Big was put together by bass god Billy Sheehan shortly after departing the Dave Lee Roth band. Enlisting the services of pretty boy crooner Eric Martin along with Racer X’s guitarist Paul Gilbert and drummer Pat Torpey (Impellitteri, Stan Bush, Belinda Carlisle, Ted Nugent, The Knack), Mr Big soon developed a shredding reputation for being a musician’s band with outstandingly talented playing but moreover, godlike songwriting that spawned numerous hits like ‘To Be With You’ – a number one hit in 15 countries in 1991! Ironically, despite their out n out style of American rock, Mr Big only drew limited attention in their home nation – however, they were the next conquest of Japan, whose market has seen every album attain either gold or platinum status. Despite this the inevitable band tensions took their toll with Sheehan departing in 2002, seemingly taking the band’s fan base with him spelling a farewell in more ways than one for Mr Big. In Feb 2009, as a result of fan-demand and also after several one off reunion shows over past years the group was gradually brought back together once again, firstly with 2011’s “What If”, their first album of new material in nearly 10 years, and now to “…The Stories We Could Tell”. It’s pretty much what I’ve come to expect from the band over the years from Eric Martin’s swanky, sexy n sassy vocals that breath soul and passion into songs like ‘Gotta Love That Ride’, ‘Just Let Your Heart Decide’ and ‘Cinderella Smile’. Gilbert’s guitar resonates the pulsating energy of rock all over each track orgasmically when he’s not dishing out teasing licks and cheeky, hip shakin solos while Sheehan, aside from odd glimpses of virtuosity in his bass runs, provides a funky n deep groove that is hard to ignore. With Torpey keeping time to a faithful rock beat, what really puts the ‘big’ into this top of the line outfit are the attention grabbing and easy to digest songs reflecting the collective talent of group rather than their individual parts, acclaimed as they may be. A hugely talented band that I would recommend in a heartbeat to anyone, especially in view of their wide appeal and reach, Mr Big are back once again with something to tell the world.