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Lonely Robot – Please Come Home – 9.0/10

(Review originally posted in Nocturnal Hall Magazine. Link to the original can be found here: http://www.nocturnalhall.com/reviews/L/lonelyrobot_home_e.html)

– LONELY ROBOT is a project created by singer, guitarist, and producer John Mitchell. John is most famous for playing in progressive rock bands such as It Bites, Frost*, Kino, and Arena. Even though he wrote the music, lyrics, and produced this album, he has decided to avoid calling it his debut solo release. This is because the album also contains a list of established guest musicians, such as Peter Cox from Go West, singer/songwriter Nik Kershaw, Steve Hogarth from Marillion, singer/songwriter Heather Findlay, Kim Seviour from Touchstone, and Jem Godfrey from Frost*. In addition to that, he has Nick Beggs and Craig Blundell (who are both currently getting a lot of attention for their work with Steven Wilson) providing the bass and drums respectively for all the tracks. If that wasn’t enough, he also has British actor Lee Ingleby (famous for his roles in Harry Potterand Master And Commander) providing narration throughout the album. The album is a concept album that deals with science fiction themes as well as focusing on the evolution of the human race. While there are traces of moments that sound like the other bands that John has been involved in, it is something completely his own. It is progressive and has moments of technicality, but has an overall more ambient approach. Through the airy production as well as use of sound effects throughout the album,John is able to constantly bring about the science fiction concept without having it go overboard or take hold of the album. Similarly, he is able to demonstrate his excellent songwriting and musicianship. The album starts with an instrumental before going into God vs. Man, a song full of lots of catchy hooks. Why Do We Stay is an incredibly beautiful ballad and duet, utilizing the female vocals to create the nostalgia of leaving someone behind. This technique returns in the much more upbeatOubilette. The album’s longest song, Lonely Robot, demonstrates John’s skill with guitar, in the form of a beautifully constructed classical sounding solo. The album runs a bit long, but it is definitely a journey worth taking. As a fan of John, I was very excited to hear about this release. However, I was not expecting it to be this good! One of the biggest surprises of 2015 so far, and a must have for any fans of prog rock.