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April 8, 2011


4.000 (average of 1 ratings)


mainstream rock



Album Tracks:

  1. The Road (4:20)
  2. Reach Out (Touch The Sun) [4:03]
  3. Try To Save Me [3:47]
  4. Background Noise [4:15]
  5. I Don't Do Love [4:34]
  6. Heaven Doesn't Care [3:37]
  7. It Only Hurts For A While [4:09]
  8. Walking On Water [3:41]
  9. Hunt You Down [3:44]
  10. Oh No [4:17]
  11. You Can Be The Rock (5:17]

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart 42

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Reach Out (Touch the Sun) (2/11) --



The Road

Mike + the Mechanics


In the 1980s, Phil Collins became one of the biggest stars on the planet as he bounced back and forth between his solo career and Genesis. The group’s bassist, Mike Rutherford, wasn’t content to sit around between Genesis albums waiting on Collins, so he formed a group of his own – Mike & the Mechanics. Not being a singer himself, he recruited the well-traveled Paul Carrack (Ace’s “How Long”, Squeeze’s “Tempted”, his own “I Need You”) and Paul Young (not the singer of “Everytime You Go Away,” but the frontman for a 1970s group called Sad Café). Their eponymous debut in 1985 generated top ten U.S. hits with “Silent Running” and “All I Need Is a Miracle.”

The collective proved more than a one-time side project. They reconvened again in 1988, striking gold with #1 U.S. hit “The Living Years.” Through the 1980s and ‘90s, the group released studio five albums – more than Genesis’ studio output during the time – and have sold more than 10 million albums worldwide. AZ

However, the surprise death of Paul Young in 2000 seemingly ended the band. Instead, it just put them on their longest hiatus yet. Five years after 1999’s Beggar on a Beach of Gold, Rutherford and Carrack helmed the 2004 Rewired album. However, after that Carrack officially announced his departure and the Mechanics were seemingly finished once again.

Fast forward to 2011 – and Rutherford has assembled a new crew under the Mechanics banner. With Carrack and Young gone, Rutherford tapped “one of the UK’s most successful R&B acts Andrew Roachford and Canadian born actor and singer Tim Howar” AZ to fill their shoes respectively. Also on board – drummer Gary Wallis, and Anthony Drennan, who played guitar for Genesis on their 1998 tour to support Calling All Stations. Prior to Howar coming on board, Arno Carstens had been tapped as a singer for the group, but he left to focus on his third solo album. WK

Mike & Co. signed to Sony Records and Rutherford produced the album with Christopher Neil while Rutherford’s son Harry did the mixing. CG “The cover design follows the Mechanics tradition. The original font was used again after other fonts had been tried out for their albums Beggar on a Beach of Gold, M6 and Hits.” CG

“Opening songs are usually considered the figurehead of an album. The title song is up-beat with rather cold, but acoustic sounds. It lacks some pep and drive to be really convincing. The Road introduces Andrew Roachford as a singer, the tune is catchy, but the song does not really get off the earth. It sounds a bit like a leftover song from the Beggar sessions. Still, it makes the listener curious about the album.” CG

Reach Out (Touch the Sun), the first single, has a “measured verse [which] trudge[s] through a song that explodes in the chorus. It seems a bit artificial, and this approach gives the song a flair that is new to Mechanics material. The song has hit potential…Andrew Roachford does a stellar job with the song, and he occasionally sounds more like Paul Young than Paul Carrack.” CG

“The up-tempo song Try To Save Me is a bit of easy listening. It resembles…the Beggar era.” CG Not much happens in the song, “but it is arranged well and will put you in a good mood…It follows the style of many a Mechanics song – in fact, it could be the second single because it is perfectly suited to the radio.” CG

“The first eye-opener (as far as the line-up is concerned) is the balladesque Background Noise…The singer on this number is Arno Carstens.” CG His “voice is quite different from Andrew Roachford’s. Carstens lacks the insistent, loud element, but his singing is in quite a different league. He sounds more relaxed, almost sloppy – a bit like Mark Knopfler. The song itself is based on acoustic guitar and lives off the catchy chorus…It is definitely an asset for the album.” CG

I Don’t Do Love is a typical Mechanics ballad with the potential to become a classic…This is, interestingly, the only song on the album that is a co-production of Mike Rutherford, Christopher Neil, Tim Howar and Andrew Roachford – these four are the core Mechanics. It is a song that had to be sung by Roachford. His voice fits the emotional dilemma that is described in the song. ‘I Don’t Do Love’ is one of the few songs where the verses are more memorable than the chorus sung by Tim Howar.” CG

“When there is a choir on a Mechanics song you automatically think of ‘The Living Years’. Heaven Doesn’t Care certainly is no match for that classic but it is one of the showpieces for the album. For the first time (and only on the sixth song!) we hear the second singer Tim Howar on lead vocals. The smoky element makes his song distinctive – his voice fits perfectly to the drama of a song that starts out as a ballad and grows ever bigger. Howar almost outdoes himself and roars out the song. Lots of depth, a great melody.” CG

“After a string of excellent, classy songs It Only Hurts for a While is the quintessential interval piece. The song runs its course without anything special. It is not bad either, it is simply very middle-of-the-road. And it is sung by Arno Carstens.” CG

This “also applies to Walking on Water. It is catchy song although it does not really take off. It is a bit more complex and stands out for this reason – perhaps it is because of the underlying restlessness from a rhythm that sounds rather technical. Andrew Roachford sings on this and it would be interesting to see how the song would have sounded with Tim Howar’s voice. The programmed rhythm part would not have been out of place on a Beggar B-side; the guitars, however, sound more like M6. An unremarkable song.” CG

Hunt You Down is definitely the good cheer corner of the album. Carstens’ voice fits this easy up-tempo song very well. The incredible keyboard/organ sound is almost cheeky. It sounds like the sound of one of those keyboards you would have had as a child or a teen. The song sounds terribly banal and the lyrics are not any better (‘love is gonna hunt you down, now the chase is on, around and around’), but it sticks in one’s ears and proves just how strong a songwriter Mike Rutherford is…Mike’s son Harry Rutherford, incidentally, is listed as the drummer alongside Gary Wallis.” CG

“Though Oh No is not a musical fireworks the song nevertheless looks towards modern sounds and contemporary production more than the other songs. At times you can spot similarities to ‘Now That You’ve Gone’ with which Rutherford & Co. surprised everybody in 1999. Tim Howar does not use the full potential of his voice on this song (as opposed to on ‘Heaven Doesn’t Care’), but that is perhaps all the better because the song would not really work otherwise. A single edit of ‘Oh No’ may be a good choice for a radio single.” CG

“The album finale is a typical Mechanics song. It seems Mike has a special talent for ‘final songs’. Just listen to ‘Look Across At Dreamland’; ‘Going, Going…Home’; ‘Why Me’; or ‘Taken In’. You Can Be The Rock is closest to ‘Taken In’ from that list as far as speed and rhythm are concerned. It is also the only song on the album that is longer than five minutes – and one of the few pieces with a real guitar solo.” CG

“It is curious that Roachford sings six songs and Tim Howar only two. Arno Carstens was apparently only involved in the early stages of the album development. The three songs he sings are probably left-overs from that phase.” CG “The new voices and the time between this and the previous record have been good for the album. The Road is not a killer album, but an entertaining record with typical Mechanics music. There are two or three spots of brilliant songs, and the mixture of ballads and faster songs is just right. The album could have done with a little more edge here and there. Many songs give the impression that, consciously or subconsciously, the producers wished to stay on the safe side. The overall sound of the album is rather cold, and it is the great vocal performances, e.g. on ‘Heaven Doesn’t Care’ and ‘I Don’t Do Love’, that lend some warmth to the album.” CG

“Fans of early Genesis will not enjoy The Road very much; those who like the later era and the numerous solo projects may enjoy it a lot. If you compare it with previous Mechanics offerings the album has touches of Beggar, the debut album and (less so) of M6. It certainly pulls away from Rewired towards authentic music. It is therefore even less fortunate that the album has such a cold sound.” CG

Review Source(s):

  • CG Christian Gerhardts,
  • WK Wikipedia

    Related DMDB Link(s):

    previous album: Rewired (2004)

    Reach Out (Touch the Sun) (audio only)

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    Last updated May 4, 2011.