One of my top albums of 2015 was John Mitchell’s Lonely Robot: Please Come Home. In addition to my rave review, several other Progarchists recognized that album’s greatness, putting it on their Best-Of lists for 2015.
It’s two years later, and Mitchell has returned with the second installment of the Lonely Robot saga: The Big Dream. I always approach sophomore efforts with some trepidation, because an artist often uses up all of his or her best ideas in the début. No worries on that front this time! Fresh off of his work with Jem Godfrey in Frost*, Mitchell has crafted a near-perfect pop/prog collection of songs that hearken back to the glory days of Peter Gabriel’s solo work, Porcupine Tree, and others.
According to Mitchell, The Big Dream continues the saga of the astronaut in Please Come Home. He has awakened from a cryogenic sleep, and finds himself in a woodland inhabited by human/animal hybrids. The concept is a bit hazy, while the music itself is tight as a nut. I am hard pressed to think of any songs that pack a bigger 1-2-3 punch than “Awakenings”, “Sigma”, and “In Floral Green”. I had to put those three on Repeat for several listens before I even heard the rest of the album.
If you thought, like me, that Please Come Home was terrific, The Big Dream actually tops it in every way. Big melodies that grab your ears and won’t let go, great vocals, John’s always outstanding guitar – all combine to deliver an album that will definitely be on many Top Ten of 2017 lists.
Rather than taking my word for it, just check out the first single, “Everglow”:
The Big Dream is slated for release April 28.