Mike & The Mechanics have announced that they’ll release a new album this spring. It’s titled Out Of The Blue and it’ll launch on April 5 on CD, Deluxe CD, LP and on digital and streaming platforms. The album will feature re-workings of some of the band’s best-loved tracks, including The Living Years and Over My Shoulder, along with three brand new songs: One Way, What Would You Do and the new single Out Of The Blue.
"Out Of The Long Dark" is the last album of the second full- fledged stable lie-up Nucleus group (one that had started with Under The Sun) and we're still finding keyboardist Geoff Castle and drummer Roger Sellers, and returning to the fold, woodwind player Brian Smith. Only bassist Billy Kristian is new, replacing the usual Sutton.
"Old Heartland" was only the second album under his own name proper (no link with Nucleus) after 1971's Belladonna, but if his first try was much in the group's soundscapes, "Old Heartland" steps away from it. The album is broken down in two parts, the Third Stream suite and the shorter tracks on the flipside, which still features some Nucleus pillars like Geoff Castle and John Marshall and has Colosseum's Hiseman engineering it on the Abbey Road studios.
These elements [i.e. a rather zany sense of homour and an oblique, Monk-like compositional sense, which often makes use of folk and popular elements in a highly original way] are in place again on Out Of The Tradition. Walrath opens "Out Of This World" with a strange North African scale and non-tempered sounds blown on a detached trumpet mouthpiece. There are hints of Coltrane's version in what follows, but they are used as stepping stones, not as a final destination. Walrath has located his playing outside the tradition and is constantly working towards points of departure. That is dramatized in Mingus's "So Long, Eric," on which Coryell and Green play a large part, and it comes across in the cod Bach of "Wake Up And Wash It Off," a pun too complicated to merit unpicking here. Walrath's now regular Pops feature comes on "Cabin In The Sky," one of his best recent performances, and he then drops back into gentler mode for "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." It's done no harm to doff the cap-and-bells for a while; this is a terrific jazz album.