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Lonely Robot is the new project from current It Bites vocalist/guitarist John Mitchell. John also has a hugely impressive back catalogue of music with the likes of Frost, Arena and Kino and is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Sickening, isn't it? I've always had a huge soft spot for It Bites in my music collection with their third album 'Eat Me In St. Louis' (1989) being something of a mini-masterpiece in my mind, and the two Mitchell-led albums in more recent years have also been wonderful.

If any of the above mentioned bands stir something in your loins and you can add Steve Hogarth era Marillion to that list, then 'Please Come Home' is going to be a hugely entertaining, beautiful, passionate and intelligent album to listen to. This is sophisticated prog rock but in no way is it pretentious or overblown. What Mitchell has achieved here is a collection of songs that aren't complicated like some prog can be but simple, melody-led tracks that carry an intriguing concept. Certain ancient civilisations, like the Mayans, appeared to have technology far beyond what they were capable of achieving by themselves and, therefore, begs the question: "Did they have help from another world or time?" The whole album reminds me of some of my favourite science-fiction films such as '2001', 'Silent Running', 'Solaris' or 'Moon'. All those films have an air of intelligence and mystery way beyond what the film industry usually spews out and that's exactly what Lonely Robot does for me...it makes me think!

Mitchell, who plays much of the guitar, bass, keyboards and lead vocals (stunningly I might add), has also collected a pretty impressive list of friends and guests to appear on this album and they add such flair and character it is only fair to name them. Steve Hogarth appears but as a pianist and backing vocalist. Kim Seviour, vocalist with Touchstone, appears on the track 'Oubliette'; the wonderful Heather Findley duets with John on 'Why Do We Stay' and, as usual, she puts in a beautiful performance. There are also two names who you should be familiar with from the 80s, that is if you listened to Pop music back then! Peter Cox from Go West puts in a fabulous vocal on 'The Boy in the Radio' and Nik Kershaw plays guitar on 'Humans Being'. Frost's Jem Godfrey pops up on a couple of tracks, Nick Beggs adds some further bass guitar and Craig Blundell supplies all the drumming. Another very important piece of the puzzle is from English actor Lee Ingleby who supplies all the spoken links and characters joining the songs and pushing the story onwards.

'Please Come Home' never feels like a bunch of individuals, though. John has mapped this all out perfectly and was very clear on what he wanted the guests to achieve. They have all stepped up to the mark in consummate fashion and delivered something quite special indeed. Tracks are immediately likeable but have many hidden depths that present themselves the more you listen and the haunting melodies and beautiful guitar work give me shivers. John reminds me of Trevor Rabin in how he puts his music together. Rabin's 1989 album 'Can't Look Away' immediately sprung to mind, not necessarily because they sound alike but because they give me a similar feeling when listening to them. As always, though, this is what I hear and you are all bound to feel something completely different. Isn't music such a wonderful thing? 'Please Come Home' is an exceptional album and I very much hope it's not the last we hear of Lonely Robot.
Inside Out
Review by Rick Tilley
23rd Feb 2015
1) Airlock
2) God Vs. Man
3) The Boy in the Radio
4) Why Do We Stay
5) Lonely Robot
6) A Godless Sea
7) Oubliette
8) Construct Obstruct
9) Are We Copies
10) Humans Being
11) The Red Balloon
"...hugely entertaining, beautiful, passionate and intelligent..."