Mike + the Mechanics

Out of the Blue

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Out of the Blue finds Mike + The Mechanics -- which, in 2019, claims Mike Rutherford as its only original member -- revisiting their catalog with the assistance of their 2010s vocalists Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar. The party line behind Out of the Blue is that the group discovered new ways of playing old songs while on tour supporting 2017's Let Me Fly, so they decided to head into the studio to document these versions. They added three new songs to the mix -- "One Way," "What Would You Do," and "Out of the Blue" all gleaming and crisp adult contemporary pop, all bunched toward the beginning of the record -- and they function as proof that the group still exists in the living years. They're needed, since the new versions of the big hits -- "All I Need Is a Miracle," "Silent Running," and "The Living Years" chief among them -- are odd combinations of vintage synths, stiff modern electronics, and excessively soulful singing that don't quite gel into a convincing reinterpretation. Out of the Blue is hardly bad -- these guys are pros, they know how not to embarrass themselves -- but it feels superfluous, a curious footnote instead of a satisfying coda.

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