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Lonely Robot - Please Come Home CD (album) cover

PLEASE COME HOME

Lonely Robot

 

Crossover Prog

3.48 | 44 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Lonely Robot is the project name for a solo work by British musician John Mitchell, well known in prog circles for his association with a wide range of progressive acts such as Arena, It Bites, Kino and Frost*. An exceptional guitarist as well as having one of the most charismatic voices in modern prog, Mitchell also frequently displays a strong ear for keen melodies, and that quality shines through much of `Please Come Home'. Ambitious rock is the order of the day here over full-blown progressive epics, but there's plenty of unpredictable diversions to keep things interesting. As well as the album featuring Kajagoogoo/Steven Wilson Band musician Nick Beggs on bass, Marillion's Steve Hogarth, ex-Mostly Autumn's Heather Findlay, the lovely Kim Seviour of Touchstone and other modern prog notables all make standout contributions as well.

Despite retaining Mitchell's catchy choruses, winning harmonies and overall usual accessible arrangements, `Please Come Home' instantly stands apart from his work with It Bites by incorporating plenty of aggressive blasts of heavy electric guitar, often making it perhaps his hardest hitting work to date. With recurring science fiction themes peppering the narrative, the album throws up gutsy sleek rockers like `God vs Man', as well as atmospheric pop with `The Boy in the Radio', `Oubliette' and `Construct/Obstruct'. The melancholic and brooding `Are We Copies?' almost channels Polish prog-metal kings Riverside, and the stark piano, moody guitar soloing and pulsing bass of `A Godless Sea' instantly reminds of Arena. There's even welcome shorter instrumentals with the bombastic Ayreon-like symphonic `Airlock' and a sweet fragile lullaby `The Red Balloon' to close on.

There's a few exceptional standout moments on the disc as well. Steve Hogarth offers delicate piano on `Why Do We Stay', a classy ballad which could have come straight off the last few Anathema albums, John's warm raspy tones complimented by Heather Findlay's silken voice. The sombre yet uplifting ballad `Humans Being' with its soaring chorus could have easily fit on Mitchell's Kino album from 2005. But the real highlight is the eight minute `Lonely Robot'. The longer running time means the track moves through several different passages, incorporating everything from repeated chiming guitar Coldplay-like jangling radio friendly verses , a crunchy pop-perfection chorus, drifting ambient piano interludes, dreamy electric guitar ruminations and even latter-day Porcupine Tree heavy outbursts.

Fans of the diverse range of sounds found on the later Anathema and Porcupine Tree albums, bands like the Pineapple Thief, Sound of Contact, and Mitchell's own version of the band It Bites should find much to appeal to them here, as the Lonely Robot project shares a similar focus on strong accessible melodies front and center over prog-rock showboating. The last two It Bites albums `The Tall Ships' and `Map of the Past' are probably just that little bit stronger and will likely be returned to more often, but `Please Come Home' is still an ideal purchase for those who fondly remember that above mentioned Kino album, lovers of melodic prog in general, and any fans of the talented Mr Mitchell.

Three and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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