Produced by: Pat Regan
  1. Electrified
  2. Static
  3. Hiding Place
  4. Superfantastic
  5. A Rose Alone
  6. Hole In The Sun
  7. How Does It Feel
  8. Try To Do Without It
  9. Dancing With My Devils
  10. Mr. Never In A Million Years
  11. My New Religion
  12. Water Over The Bridge (Japan Only)
I was initially a little disappointed with the new Mr. Big album.
But I have been disappointed before and come back to love the end result. That's what is happening here as I get used to the revamped sound and the new feel.
The new album is the first to feature new guitarist Richie Kotzen (Solo, Poison). Quite the difference he has made too, as the sound has a new edge to it.
The guys finally have the more hard edged feel back in place, over the last two more acoustic driven records.
The record has a raw, live and earthy feel to it, with some parts sounding improvised.
The injection of a new member and a couple of years break have refueled the band and it feels like they are starting out once again.
For that reason, this reminds me of the feel of the debut. The songs are rocking again, albeit with a heavy blues base and have that swaggering feel to them that the debut did.
I just bet the next album moves close to the feel of my favourite album Lean Into It.
I love the intro to this album. Kotzen's guitar, then the familiar tune of Billy's base slapping, Pat's drums and then Eric's great vocals. Electrified is a big rocker, but with added swagger.
Eric martin sounds a million bucks, great to hear him screaming again after his way too soft solo album. Kotzen's backing vocals also add a new dimension. I love the jamming feel towards the end of the track - it sounds almost live.
Static has the definite feel of the debut. A heavy blues based rocker, it reminds me of tracks like Merciless and Wind Me Up. Interestingly enough, Kotzen ads a couple of lead vocals and mixes brilliantly with the song and with Eric Martin.
Hiding Place kind of lets things down a little. A slow bluesy track, there is unnecessary use of vocal effects and the song really doesn't go anywhere.
Superfantastic is better. This is the first single off the album and clearly the most commercial. A soft acoustic intro and a simple vocal leads to a more fuller sound as the song goes on. A good hook and basically a very catchy song. Typical Mr. Big.
A Rose Alone is another fairly simple pop song, but more rocking and fully electric. The hook and mini-anthem chorus are fantastic and should go down real well live.
Hole In The Sun is more laid back than the last two tracks. A simple verse but a chorus that again is pretty catchy and memorable.
How Does It Feel is heavier and bluesier again. Similar to Hiding Place, but with a better pace and a strong raw, moody chorus.
Try To Do Without It is almost a southern blues track. Not bad, but not an album highlight.
Just when we needed to pick the pace up a little comes another track straight out of the Mr. Big hard book. Cracking mini-drum solo opens the track, then it's a blues rhythm with Billy and Richie leading the way. The chorus to Dancing With My Devils comes and goes without fuss, but it's still a pretty good track.
Mr. Never In A Million Years is a little boring. OK guys, we have done the blues thing now...move on. Still not a bad track, the chorus picks the pace up a little, but enough already.
It's acoustic ballad time again, with My New Religion. A great Eric Martin vocal, soft but strong. Still, this alone doesn't save the track. Not essential.
Water Over The Bridge is actually the bonus track. It should have been included at the expense of Mr. Never In A Million Years.
It has a snap to it's sound and is a mid paced blues rocker. Again, not essential, but better than a couple of others on the album.
BOTTOM LINE: It looks and sounds like a new beginning for Mr. Big. The style and feel has had an overhaul and the album rates as one of their best. Doesn't touch the debut and Lean Into It, but does a lot to repair the damage of Bump Ahead...Generally very pleasing apart from the odd song that gets caught up in being too sluggish. The first half of the album is clearly better then the second.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Most Mr. Big fans, Eric Martin fans and old Richie Kotzen fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Mr. Big . Raw Like Sushi . Lean Into It . Raw Like Sushi 2 . Bump Ahead . Japandamonium . Hey Man . Big, Bigger Biggest . At The Hard Rock Live . Live At Budokan . Get Over It