I must admit that back in the day I never really got into Mr Big even though there were tracks like ‘Green Tinted Sixties Mind’ that were just sparks of real genius. The fact that the band kept going and remain huge in Japan though is testament to the musicians who kept on where other folded, though of course they did eventually hang up their boots in 2002 before reforming 7 years later in 2009. Since then we’ve had 2010’s ‘What If’ and 2014’s ‘Stories We Could Tell’ two albums that had me reaching for the back catalogue and realising y younger self had missed out.
‘Defying Gravity’ is essentially bluesy hard rock with plenty of tiddly guitars, prominent bass, crashing drums and excellent vocals from Eric Martin. It starts off well with the astute blues rock of ‘Open Your Eyes’ but the title track that follows might split some opinion with a refrain based on a rather quirky guitar pattern that took me a few listens before I didn’t find it a little quirky for my tastes.
Thankfully the Single ‘Everyone Needs a Little Trouble’ is back to that bluesy swagger and that along with tracks like ‘Open Your Eyes’, ‘Damn I’m In Love Again’, ‘1992’ and ‘Be Kind’ make ‘Defying Gravity’ a damned fine listen for casual fans and a great statement for the obsessives.
Needless to say performances throughout are excellent and the fact that the band played largely live in the studio makes it even more impressive. Gilbert even improvised some of the guitar work in the six days it took to put this, their ninth album together. It’s also nice to see original producer Kevin Elson back – Kevin of course recorded all the original albums by the band from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
If you’re a fan you won’t be disappointed, and if you just love classic hard rock played well by guys who know how to write a great tune check it out too. Mr Big prove there’s a lot more life in the still.