Mr. Big has withstood multi-platinum successes, personnel changes, and volatile disputes. Despite the band’s ups and downs, the original line-up remains intact. Paul Gilbert, Billy Sheehan, Eric Martin, and Pat Torpey stay frosty working in a plethora of outside musical endeavors. 2011’s What If was a hard-charging record, but here on their eighth studio album, the band once again displays the chemistry that has made them a top touring and recording act.
Produced by Pat Regan, the album dials it back with a combination of philosophical insights about life, relationships, and Gilbert’s predilection for early ’70s blues-rock. As one of the most underrated singers in rock, Martin croons with blue-eyed-soul perfection alongside ear-friendly compositions that borrow but never steal. Highlights include “The Monster In Me,” “Satisfied,” and “Fragile.”
The track list shuffles pristine acoustic ballads, mid-tempo rockers, and high-velocity quasi-metal. Gilbert and Sheehan continue to display powers far beyond those of mortal men, but use their gifts for good instead of evil. Always tuneful, Mr. Big has crafted a fine record to add to their legacy. When these guys get together, they produce superb product.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s February ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.