Mr. Big
What if...
Rating
Style: Hard Rock
Release date: January 21st 2011
Playing time: 50:12
 

Nine years after their previous studio album, Mr. Big return with "What if...". Right from the first listen it doesn't feel as if such a long has passed as the new material has the unmistakable Mr. Big sound - maybe it a bit more aggressive and technical in respect to previous outings such as "Lean Into It" (1991) and "Hey Man" (1996).

The 'sound' is a Hard Rock with strong commercial potential delivered with a high level of technical sophistication. Indeed all the band's members - with no exception- are musicians who in "What if..." demonstrate a lack of inhibition in flaunting their technical prowess. The line-up is the same one with which Mr. Big had started out: lead vocalist Eric Martin, guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert, Pat Torpey on drums and of course Billy Sheehan - a living benchmark in quality bass playing.

Amongst the album's various highs is 'Undertow' - where a set of hard riffs merge with catchy melodies. 'Stranger in My Life' is one of the most interesting power ballads recorded by Mr. Big. The album's other ballad - 'ĎAll the Way Up' - sounded a bit too formulaic to me. 'Still ainít enough for me' is an exciting up-tempo Boogie Metal number dense with blistering guitar and bass solos (yeah, bass solos!). 'Nobody Takes the Blame' is one of the songs I liked least - possibly due to the vocal effects that are used.

It would be tempting for the average Metalhead to dismiss this album as commercial, 'sugary' or 'UN-true' but the undeniable truth is that "What if..." is a prime example of superior Melodic Hard Rock. Welcome back guys!


Tracklist

01. Undertow
02. American Beauty
03. Stranger in My Life
04. Nobody Takes the Blame
05. Still ain't enough for me
06. Once Upon A Time
07. As Far As I Can See
08. All The Way Up
09. I Won't Get In My Way
10. Around The World
11. I Get The Feeling
12. Unforgiven (Bonus Track)

Label: Frontiers Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: December 22nd 2010
Website: www.mrbigsite.com