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It Bites - The Tall Ships CD (album) cover


It Bites


Crossover Prog

3.84 | 161 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars When it was first announced that there was going to be a new It Bites album in 2008, but that the band wasn't going to involve Francis Dunnery, there was more than one person wondering what on earth was going to happen. True, keyboard player John Beck and drummer Bob Dalton were still going to be there, but who was going to be the new frontman? Step up John Mitchell, who is probably best-known for his incredibly long-running stint in Arena (in the early days the standing joke was that if you wanted to stay in the band then you shouldn't be at one side of the official press photo, as there was a rather fluid line-up back then). Now, John has a wide and varied repertoire and can put his hand to anything (I once saw him, Paul Cook and JJ act as the backing band for a Canadian singer- songwriter), but It Bites? Here is a band that is probably more loved now than in their heyday, so what was going to happen?

The three of them were going to produce an almighty success, that's what. I saw the original line-up support Marillion on the Misplaced Childhood tour sometimes a million years ago, and I remember being distinctly unimpressed (although in fairness, all I knew of theirs at the time was "Calling All The Heroes"), but here I was grabbed right from the off and stayed with it all the way through to the end. This reminds me so much of the days in the early Nineties when I seemed to be in a permanent state of wonderment about how many great bands there were in the scene, and how many stunning albums there were to listen to. This has been a constant returnee to my player since it was released in 2008, and I have only just realised that I never wrote anything about it at the time!! This has everything anyone could want from It Bites, with poptastic melodies and harmonies and the synthed layers of the opening "Oh My God" dares the listener to turn it off ? impossible.

John's singing fits the music perfectly, and in many ways it really does sound as if It Bites have never been away. So many styles, so many flavours to savour, and there is even a thirteen-minute epic to close with. If somehow this album has passed you by, then you should seek it out immediately.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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