81287-1 Mike + The Mechanics
Produced by Christopher Neil
Released on 1985
Find it at GEMM
81287-1 cover
[high resolution photo]

H ooray for arena rock! Now, everyone with me... Hooray for are-int you going to say hooray? Okay, maybe it’s hard to get excited about it today, but in the first half of the ‘80s this was all the rage. Big ballads, sophisticated production, the swagger saved for social change rather than sexual conquest. The popular precedents were Asia, Foreigner and Genesis, with Mike + The Mechanics joining the party a little later than some. The connections to prog were hanging by a thread, and came by way of Genesis (Rutherford) mostly, so prog fans may be happy to hear that much of Mike + The Mechanics carries the torch for contemporary Genesis (“Home By The Sea,” “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”). There’s even an unrecorded Genesis song on here, “A Call To Arms,” as a carrot to fans (it’s a tasty carrot too). The big numbers are “Silent Running” (Eastern Bloc intrigue) and “All I Need Is A Miracle” (they got one). Smaller in stature but honorable in intent are “Taken In,” a 10cc-styled ballad that cracked the Top 40, and the snow-globe still “Par Avion.” Producer Christopher Neil, who worked with many of the same musicians that year for Toyah’s Minx, cowrites most of the material with Mike Rutherford. Heavy producer involvement is often a sign of concentrated product, and this album is no exception. Compare the studied “I Get The Feeling” to the pub-rock approach of Squeeze and you’ll hear what I’m talking about. However, I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Mike + The Mechanics is a triumph for Mike Rutherford. His previous albums were underwhelming, his songwriting efforts often less than memorable (think “Hanging By A Thread” multiplied by ten). This debut album vaunted him past Tony Banks and into a race for commercial credibility with Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel, which is a huge accomplishment. Looking back on it today, Mike + The Mechanics is a good album not a great one, which accounts for the orange rating. However, I’ve only heard this a half-dozen times (we all have our limits), and I don’t doubt that repeated listenings will endear listeners to songs like “You Are The One” and “Take The Reins,” in which case you may give this the green light.

81287-1 back cover
81287-1 back cover


  1. SILENT RUNNING    (Michael Rutherford/B.A. Robertson)    6:10
  2. ALL I NEED IS A MIRACLE    (Michael Rutherford/Christopher Neil)    4:10
  3. PAR AVION    (Michael Rutherford/Christopher Neil)    3:36
  4. HANGING BY A THREAD    (Michael Rutherford/Christopher Neil/B.A. Robertson)    4:40
  5. I GET THE FEELING    (Michael Rutherford/Christopher Neil)    4:27
  6. TAKE THE REINS    (Michael Rutherford/Christopher Neil/B.A. Robertson)    4:18
  7. YOU ARE THE ONE    (Michael Rutherford/Christopher Neil)    3:41
  8. A CALL TO ARMS    (Tony Banks/Phil Collins/Michael Rutherford/Christopher Neil/B.A. Robertson)    4:38
  9. TAKEN IN    (Michael Rutherford/B.A. Robertson)    4:17


PAUL CARRACK -- vocals
ADRIAN LEE -- keyboards
MIKE RUTHERFORD -- guitar, bass
PAUL YOUNG -- vocals
Dereck Austin -- keyboards
Ray Beavis -- sax
Alan Carvel -- backing vocals
John Earle -- sax
Louis Jardin -- percussion
John Kirby -- vocals
Alan Murphy -- guitar
Christopher Neil -- backing vocals
Gee Stashuck -- vocals
Linda Taylor -- backing vocals
Ian Wherry -- keyboards
Simon Hurrell -- engineer
Lewis Moberly -- cover design
Goeff Halpin -- designer
Peter Anderson -- photography

return to MIKE + THE MECHANICS discography

UK/AUS'L/GER 1985 WEA LP/CD/CS 252 496  
US 1985 Atlantic LP/CD/CS 81287  
ARG 1985 WEA CD 83975  
CAN 1985 Atlantic LP 78 12871  
MEX 1985 WEA LP 6449  


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