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Lonely Robot – ‘A Model Life’

InsideOut Music
Marillion, Steven Wilson, Riverside, Big Big Train
Release Date
InsideOut Music
Progressive Rock

John Mitchell is annoying. Like really, really annoying. Apart from being one of the finest producers around in the world of Metal (he’s produced tons of Alt. Rock and Metal you already know and love), he is also one of the most technically gifted and endlessly melodic guitar soloists alive today. It gets even more annoying to realise he’s also an excellent keyboard and bass player, arranger, sound engineer, and above all, a phenomenal song writer.

For those not familiar; there will be no demon blood dripping from your speakers; there will be precious little opportunity to headbang (you won’t), and the only distortion you’ll hear is meticulous and perfectly weighted to raise the solo guitar parts out from the absolutely exquisite mix. It is as lush and expansive a sound as you would imagine from the proprietor of one of the UK’s leading recording studios; I strongly suspect copies of this album on vinyl will be familiar sights in top-dollar HiFi store’s demo rooms for years to come.

Black Metal fans look away now; you may find this distasteful;

Lonely Robot is currently the closest thing to a solo project that John has, it is John on all the strings and keys, and the insanely talented Craig Blundell on Drums and percussion; John is found elsewhere as a member of Frost*, Arena, It Bites, (occasionally) Gandalf’s Fist, Kino, The Urbane, and The Kite Experiment. The first three albums under the Lonely Robot name were a thematic trilogy “The Astronaut” (from which you totally need to check out “God vs Man”). The fourth album “Feelings are Good” is an electronic heavy concept piece where a newly sentient AI trials human emotions (it’s nowhere near as Prog-Wanky as that might suggest!). “A Model Life” by contrast is a deeply emotional and human take on love and loss; a take that involves some of John’s most enthralling guitar work.

The last Frost* album “Day and Age” is a modern Prog masterpiece with the unexpected twist of not having a single significant guitar solo. “A Model Life” however, has them all; and more. The hackneyed trope of “the voice as an instrument” is turned on its head here; the instrument tells the story and inflects the weight of emotions as succinctly as any lyric. (If you want further evidence of how this deeply annoying musical polymath does “shit like that” check out “Radio Voltaire” by Kino for the single greatest note in Stratocaster history). If like me you love a good bout of pinched harmonic histrionics done in a mellifluously melodic idiom, this might just be your favourite Prog record since a very, very long time ago.

"Completely excellent modern Prog with guitar work to die for"

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