LONELY ROBOT – announce new album ‘Feelings Are Good’

Lonely Robot, the project masterminded by producer, guitarist and singer/songwriter John Mitchell (Kino, Frost*, Arena, It Bites), is set to release its fourth album ‘Feelings Are Good’ on July 17th, 2020, a fresh start following the conclusion of the ‘The Astronaut Trilogy’.
 
John comments: “‘Feelings Are Good’ is a bit of a departure from the first three Lonely Robot albums or ‘The Astronaut Trilogy’ as it has now lovingly become known.  On ‘Feelings Are Good’, I wanted to explore more personal themes and the songs are very much about individual experiences and narratives that I believe had been the cornerstones, good and bad, to my life. The long tall and short of it is that we’re back on planet Earth, and I have a personal lyrical axe to grind!”
 
‘Feelings Are Good’ will be available as a Limited Edition CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP+CD and as Digital Album in both 16 & 24 bit versions (all including 2 bonus tracks). The artwork is once again by Paul Tippett / Vitamin P (Black Star Riders, Frost*), and John says of the cover: “The artwork is meant to be a little disturbing. The closed eyes and taped over mouth are supposed to represent how people are very guarded with their emotions and what better way of emoting them than through the windows to the soul and the smile?”
 
The full track-listing is as follows:
1.Feelings Are Good
2.Into The Lo-Fi
3.Spiders
4.Crystalline
5.Life Is A Sine Wave
6.Armour For My Heart
7.Suburbia
8.The Silent Life
9.Keeping People As Pets
10.Army Of One
11.Grief Is The Price Of Love
12.The Silent Life (Orchestral Version)
13.Crystalline (Orchestral Version)
 
Lonely Robot will hit the road in December 2020 for some select headline dates, and you can find a list of those below:
Dec 13th  Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK
Dec 16th  Riff, Bochum, GER
Dec 17th  Das Rind, Rüsselsheim, GER
Dec 18th  Muziekgieterij, Maastricht, NL
Dec 20th  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, NL
 
During the campaign for their acclaimed previous album ‘Under Stars’, a full animated film was created by Crystal Spotlight and screened at two very special cinema events in the UK. Now the full visual accompaniment is available to stream, and you can watch it now here: https://youtu.be/slyM9ZUzr6U
 
John comments: “It has always been an ambition of mine to have a full length visual accompaniment alongside an album of music I have written. With Under Stars and the help of Miles at Crystal Spotlight, this dream was finally realised last year. I’m very proud of the results and I’d like to thank Miles for all his hard work and patience in bringing this to fruition. I hope you enjoy it.”
 
John Mitchell is a man with a rich musical heritage and history – from musician and vocalist, to songwriter and producer. With bands like Arena, Frost*, Kino, It Bites and Lonely Robot, to name but a few, Mitchell has left his mark on the current progressive rock scene and has been involved in dozens of recordings. He is also a respected producer & mixer, running Outhouse Studios in the UK and working with artists as diverse as You Me At Six, Enter Shikari, Alter Bridge, Asia, Don Broco, Funeral For A Friend, McFly & much more.

Live Review – Lonely Robot – The Big Dream Album Launch by Gary Morley

The following was scribbled on my phone as I watched from the vantage of the Merch Desk’s Forward command post (thanks to Brigadier Nellie Pitts).

It’s a good crowd of people with hair that time forgot… I’m jealous. My locks decided to leave me years ago, sacrificed to the trinity of job, mortgage and respectability. A plethora of tour t shirts…  Yes, sundry variations on a theme of keep calm and prog /play on.

I can report that Nellie doing a brisk trade in robot paraphernalia
everyone seems to know each other and the atmosphere is good, a smell of anticipation in the air. I’m amazed that my hometown has all these like minded people.

Where do they hide? Why don’t I know anyone?  Is the Lonely Robot me?
Perhaps Mr Mitchell and his crew will enlighten me. It will be an experience, seeing him on stage rather than nodding in passing as we orbit around Reading.

Sub 89 is filling up nicely and the band are on stage…

And they’re off, a quartet of songs from the debut album setting their stall out with panache and style. John Mitchell’s on stage banter is honed to a fine precision.

Craig Blundell on drums – he’s not shit!”, being the first bon mot to raise a groaning cheer…

And the robot appeals to all,  as can be seen from the Reading wildlife grooving to the first new song,  a slow burn with gorgeous guitar and a hypnotic vocal.

More banter, Ian Holmes, on bongos…”, then it’s their theme song, Lonely Robot, with its chiming guitars and thunderous drums… Some fine piano over that hypnotic drone, a robot’s soul exposed as a dark broody labyrinth of noise .

John is on fine form, singing with vigour and passion, then peeling off intricate guitar parts casually,the way only a true expert can. Equal parts Peter Gabriel and Chris Martin, he has a distinctive voice, suited to Prog or Pop.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Robot, they mix rock, prog and pop into a swirling mix that, like a black hole, draws you ever deeper in. There are flashes of Porcupine Tree guitar, those thunderous drums, a solid bass rumbling throughout and keyboards that fill out the few spaces left.

John now introduces his special guest, Kim Seviour to perform a track. Much more pop and upbeat, their voices fit and the music steams on. The hook line, “don’t forget me”, is an instant earworm and the song gets heavier until the middle 8 breaks down to a heartbeat drum pattern with some fine synth layers draped over it.

There is a commonality in Mr M’s work, from The Urbane through Arena and It Bites to The Robot clan, a melodic core, songs that burrow and charm in equal measure, vocal harmony as important as the instrument. “Are we copies” demonstrated that, with the impassioned vocals equal to the guitars.

We are then treated to a lighters in the air moment, as the next track floats over us, building the castle of sound, the voice and guitar increasingly emotive and the crowd rapt in attention, following the melody and swaying with the chorus. It was a beautiful moment. And finally, a vocal tour de force, Mr Mitchell and keyboards drifting weightlessly across our event horizon before Mr “Not Shit” thunders and bashes a drum piece, more demolition job than drum solo. He hits as hard as John Bonham and the electronic percussion effects add to the Bonham groove.

We are then warned that we are getting a velociraptor riff, a T- Rex, according to it’s creator  , and the next track does just that, guitars roaring and snarling to a climactic finish.

Now for a short personal interlude, fellow passenger, Jane Armstrong has retreated from the front to recuperate and berates me for looking nothing like my Facebook avatar!  It’s loud but very clear here at the merch desk, the band are in full flight now, and what a band they are, jamming away, first the keyboards taking the lead then John and his cybernetic guitar scything through the mix.

We then are treated to another of the new tracks, Sigma, which is all Nirvana approved quiet/ loud /quiet and another earworm chorus, great keyboards and stun guitar, in fact a fitting end to a great set.

So, there it was. The 4th Law of Robotics – “Thou shall Enjoy the sounds emanating from the Robot Clan , even if you know no-one, are run down and in need of a battery charge”.

After that set, my life meter was reading full again and I slipped off into the night, clutching a copy of the new CD that Nellie insisted I purchase as, “It’s alright and they’re OK people …”

Far be it from me to question the wisdom of a Prog Queen, but sat here listening to the CD, you know what? She had erred on the side of caution. It’s a great CD, well worth investing in.

I know, I was that Lonely Robot.

Order ‘The Big Dream’ from Nellie Pitts at The Merch Desk

 

 

 

Review – Lonely Robot – The Big Dream – by Leo Trimming

‘To go to sleep and never wake up… to be simply not there forever and ever…

… That’s such a curious thought… that’s such a curious thought’

These spoken musings of an unidentified philosopher about sleep and death permeate the instrumental cinematic opening sequence Prologue (Deep Sleep) of Lonely Robot’s second album ‘The Big Dream’, and atmospherically sets the scene for an album which considers our mortality. Lonely Robot is a solo project from John Mitchell, renowned as guitarist, producer and vocalist with bands such as Frost*, Arena, It Bites and Kino. ‘The Big Dream’ is more reminiscent of Kino than It Bites, but such is the excellent quality and imagination of the ‘Lonely Robot’ project Mitchell has arguably now created material which surpasses the achievements of his time with either of those bands. Following on from Lonely Robot’s impressive 2015 debut ‘Please Come Home’, which featured a range of guest artists, in ‘The Big Dream’ John Mitchell takes on all the vocal, guitar and keyboard duties to great effect, alongside his Frost* band mate Craig Blundell on drums.

‘The Big Dream’ once again showcases Mitchell’s strong song writing and distinctive fine guitar style, but also shows his excellent keyboard work throughout this musically dynamic album. Whilst this is an album of ‘Big Ideas’ it is largely expressed in a series of accessible and polished rock songs, alongside some more progressive cinematic passages. For John Mitchell the song is key and whilst he undoubtedly has the musical chops he is not about indulgent technique, preferring songs punctuated with memorable hooks and riding along on waves of melodic progressive rock, such as the ‘earworm’ song Sigma and it’s heroic sounding refrain.

Similarly to ‘Please Come Home’, once again the album has a science fiction context – not a concept album as such, but with recurring themes and featuring the central character of ‘The Astronaut’. However, whilst the previous album was largely associated with Space it appears in ‘The Big Dream’ The Astronaut wakes from a cryogenic sleep in a strange woodland. There are peculiar hints of a space age Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with the gentle pastoral prog pop of Floral Green, featuring some delightful vocal dexterity from Mitchell, presumably supported by Kim Seviour (ex-Touchstone) on backing vocals. A short expressive guitar solo over sensitive keyboards skilfully  illustrates this delicate number… sometimes less really is more.

In contrast Everglow blasts in like some sort of sci-fi movie spectacular with powerful, driving guitars intertwining with sparkling, pulsing keyboards, whilst Craig Blundell provides a remarkable drumming masterclass to drive this impressive highlight of the album along… oh, and Mitchell throws in yet another short but golden guitar solo before we rejoin the thunderous refrain and heavy curtain of sound that introduced the song. If that’s not enough we then segue into the lighter, dreamy and appropriately shimmering False Lights, in which Blundell initially shows a much more subtle side on percussion, before it builds in intensity and then recedes in echoes. Symbolic, is rather insistent, perhaps lacking some of the subtlety and in my view somewhat interrupting the flow of the cinematic sweep of the latter half of the album, but it’s still a trademark Mitchell finely honed rock song… which is no bad thing!

In 2016 John Mitchell released under his own name an E.P. called ‘The Nostalgia Factory’, featuring four cover songs (which is well worth seeking out). ‘The Nostalgia Factory’ included a fine version of the Phil Collins song Take Me Home and it sounds as if The Divine Art of Being has distinct echoes of that great anthem… which is a good thing! John Mitchell certainly knows how to pen a song with great melody and choruses that resound around your brain like The Divine Art of Being, a song which also highlights the great quality of his voice, perfectly suited to his pitch and intonation.

The Big Dream feels like the finale of the album and projects us into spacey, epic Floydian territory, reminiscent of A Godless Sea on ‘Please Come Home’. The Big Dream is widescreen in nature with a wall of grandiose, cosmic keyboards echoing the intro of ‘Awakenings’ over which a wonderful high pitched guitar swoops eerily. This is spectacular stuff which feels like a film soundtrack. As this evocative track closes the philosopher returns with his spoken musings on death and sleep and then in a direct link back to ‘Please Come Home’ we hear the strangely heartbreaking lines:

‘Please Come Home Lonely Robot, Your Heart is Beautiful, Programmed to Receive, We Miss You now Lonely Robot, Ever so Beautiful’

After the drama of The Big Dream there is a sense of release and optimism as the coda song Hello World Goodbye is like musical sunlight breaking through the clouds. A piano plays a simple melody before Mitchell’s almost whispered soft vocals resonate with optimism, beautifully backed by Kim Seviour, and Mitchell pours a lovely soaring, rippling but subtle guitar solo over the conclusion. Epilogue (Sea Beams), with it’s title hinting at the tragic replicant Roy Batty from ‘Bladerunner’ (the ultimate Lonely Robot?) is a delicate ending, feeling like the end credits for a movie. The elegiac whistle like sounds underline the nautical but cosmic connection and underlines the emotion at the core of this remarkable album. John Mitchell has released a remarkable album which subtly conveys meaning and depth with accessible and finely written songs.

The juxtaposition of machine and emotion in the ‘Lonely Robot’ project is peculiarly touching, and one wonders if many of us lead similarly robotic, regimented lives, not knowing how to escape or truly express our inner feelings…

‘…That’s such a curious thought…’

Released 28th April 2017

Order ‘The Big Dream’ from InsideOut Music

 

 

TRINITY 2 – THE PROGRESSIVE ROCK CHARITY EVENT – Trinity Live Returns on Saturday 27th May 2017

In aid of Cancer Research UK / Teenage Cancer Trust / Macmillan Cancer Support

It is with great pride and excitement we announce that Trinity, in association with Prog Magazine, is back with a bang on Saturday 27th May 2017. Held at The Assembly in Leamington Spa, the line-up will include Lonely Robot, Touchstone and Ghost Community during the evening, with afternoon performances by A Formal Horse, Kim Seviour and the Dec Burke Band. There will also be a charity rock auction and raffle, which already has some incredible items donated from the very generous stars of the prog music world.

The prog music community has a history of supporting their own, as shown by the recent over-bringing people together to help out others less fortunate than themselves. The first Trinity, which took place back in 2014, enabled the organisers to donate over £9,000 to the three charities and the organisers are looking to beat that figure this year.

As Jerry Ewing, editor of Prog Magazine (and promoter of Trinity) says: “This is a terrific evening for a very good cause. Not only will it hopefully raise a huge amount for the three cancer charities, but it’s a spectacular bill as well, from top to bottom. There isn’t one band I’m not really looking forward to seeing and I’m already hard at work curating my DJ set for the after-show. Prog is proud to support Trinity 2, and I hope to see as many of you down there as possible.”

Tickets for Trinity Live are available from www.leamingtonassembly.com