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Mr. So & So - Sugarstealer CD (album) cover


Mr. So & So


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2 stars My first album of Mr.So and So in a promo copy.

Well i find this work so

This work has nothing to do with Pallas or It Bites...completely different.

This is not neo-prog is nearly crossover prog the line of other bands that try to create a modern prog rock.

This is modern ..but in my opinion not good crossover prog.

A collection of modern pop rock prog songs ..but with average short songs in the line of the crossover prog..but in comparison to Pineapple Thief or Big Big Train works ... remembering best crossover modern prog in their latest albums ...this album is mediocre .

I haven t listened yet their other albums but if the were similar to Pallas or It Bites I think they should return to those inspirations .

Report this review (#320124)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars So there I am working my way through a load of files and I came across a press release for this album. "That can't be right" I thought, "I reviewed this years ago". A quick check later and it appears that this one fell through the cracks, for which I am both very annoyed and embarrassed. The only thing to do is to right the wrong and get on with it now.

Well, who exactly are Mr So & So? To answer that you have to go back to 1991 when they released the cassette 'Thoughts of Fear & Principle' (yep, still got my copy), which was recorded at Pagan Media. Steve Paine saw promise in this group of young lads and offered them a deal, and a year later they released their first CD 'Paraphernalia'. What made these guys so very different to the rest of the prog bands around was that not only were they all extremely talented at a young age, but also that their sound was based around bass/guitar interplay as opposed to keyboards. Drummer Leon Parr and keyboard player Kieran Twist were great musicians, but it was guitarist Dave Foster and bassist/singer Shaun 'Magoo' McGowan that gave them the edge.

The next album was 'Compendium' where the band became a five-piece with the addition of another singer in Charlotte Evans. It was about this time that I saw the band play live for the first time, supporting John Wetton, and they had their slot cut short as they were going down so well! Steve Rothery entered the story at this point, and he signed the band to his own label for their next album 'The Overlap' and they found themselves as the support act for Marillion on their 'This Strange Engine' tour (I caught them at Shepherd's Bush Empire and they were just stunning). But, the album wasn't ready in time for the tour and in 2000 the decision was taken to fold the band. Dave, Charlotte and Leon formed Sleeping Giant (whose album 'Primates' is well worth grabbing if you can find it) and played some gigs (I managed to catch them support Karnataka, and there is no doubt in my mind who should have been supporting who). But, in 2005 Dave and Shaun met, and after some discussions started playing music together again. Charlotte became involved and the decision was taken to resurrect Mr So & So. Kieran and Leon weren't available, but they managed to find replacements in Anthony Hindley (keys/vocals) and Stuart Browne (drums).

And so, in 2009 they released 'Sugarstealer'. To say I was nervous when playing this for the first time was something of an understatement. Back in the Nineties Dave and I often spoke to each other, I had travelled many miles to see them in gigs, I had even given a flexi of theirs away in 'Feedback', and these days we were friends on Facebook! What would I do if I didn't like it?

Luckily that was never an issue. From the first note it was just like old times, yet way more polished and mature. I did sometimes use to have a concern with how Charlotte would be able to make room for herself in a band so tightly musically dominated by Magoo and Dave, but here the balance is just right. There are passages where Charlotte is absent, or just providing backing vocals, and others where she is centre stage ? it is all about balance. I remember Bill Bruford saying that he once received a songwriting credit in King Crimson for a song where he didn't play ? his decision to be absent made the song what it was, and that is the same here. The guys have grown up and there is no need for anyone to be wrestling to be above anyone else, it is all about the end result.

There really is no prog band that sounds like these guys, they have taken the normal prog influences, added Tool, FNM, The Police, Zappa and a while load of others to create a sound that is truly and uniquely their own. They are touring again now, and will be supporting Marillion again in Europe (you lucky, lucky people) with plans to have a new album available at the beginning of 2013.

I should have reviewed this three years ago (and thought I had, honest) ? but here it is now. This is a five star album from a five star band. Welcome back guys.

Report this review (#759201)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The end of an era was really close for Mr. So & So during 1998/99.Job commitments and financial problems led slowly to the dissolution of the band, which occured in 2000, with Dave Foster, Charlotte Evans and Leon Parr continuing together in the band Sleeping Giant and Kieran Twist joining legendary drummer Carl Palmer in Quango.Five years later Foster was playing alongside Shaun McGowan's girlfriend Nicola Jones in a Sting tribute band and soon the group gathered together with Charlotte Evans accepting the invitation.However Parr and Twist were unavailable at the time.Shaun McGowan met one Anthony Hindley in a Bolton shop, who also happened to be a Mr. So & So fan.He became the new keyboardist of the band and also brought along his friend and drummer Stuart Browne.Mr. So & So's new chapter opened the same way the old one closed: by supporting Marillion on a live show.In 2009 the new album of the band was released independently, titled ''Sugarstealer''.

After this unexpected turn of events Mr. So & So's new effort couldn't be anything else than a joyful, pleasant and optimistic comeback to their Neo Prog roots, where the British lyricism is dominant throughout the album and the standard light symphonic colors are surrounded by an incredible sound diversity, including rockin' tunes, poppy sensibilities and Art Rock fragments.This is definitely the most accesible of all the releases of the band so far, split in 18 tracks, some of which work just as short interludes and bridges between longer compositions.The music is quite tricky but not very inventive, recalling more of JADIS' controversial albums than resembling to the band's slightly PINK FLOYD-ian stylings of the past, this does not mean that the album is bad, it's extremely consistent and focused on dynamic pieces with clean vocals, rhythmic guitars, soft keyboards (including some nice organ twists) and a tight bass/drums support, characterized by effective melodies, tapping grooves and some laid-back atmospheres.First half of the album sounds really fresh and energetic with the brand new side of the band in full display, but the second one is more convincing, eventually containing hints of their well-adapted FLOYD-ian touches, some more epic atmospheres, pronounced keyboards and more emotional vocal and instrumental material.

Welcome back Mr. So & So!One of the lesser known acts of British Neo Prog, there is some serious songwriting talent here along with some unique atmospheric ideas, even if ''Sugarstealer'' lacks the adventurous instrumental exhibitions of Prog Rock.Recommended.

Report this review (#1360722)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2015 | Review Permalink

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