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Lonely Robot

Crossover Prog

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Lonely Robot The Big Dream album cover
3.69 | 94 ratings | 2 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prologue - Deep Sleep (2:12)
2. Awakenings (5:10)
3. Sigma (5:06)
4. In Floral Green (5:08)
5. Everglow (4:58)
6. False Light (5:33)
7. Symbolic (5:06)
8. The Divine Art Of Being (5:38)
9. The Big Dream (8:02)
10. Hello World, Goodbye (3:52)
11. Epilogue - Sea Beams (2:48)

Total time 53:33

Bonus tracks on 2017 CD edition:
12. In Floral Green (Acoustic Version) (5:16)
13. The Divine Art Of Being (Acoustic Version) (5:39)
14. Why Do We Stay (5:15)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Mitchell / vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, cello, Celtic harp, harmonium, Irish whistle, producer & mixing
- Craig Blundell / drums

- Bonita Mckinney / vocals
- Kim Seviour / vocals (14)
- Lee Ingleby / narration

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Tippett

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 476 (2017, Europe) With 3 bonus tracks

2xLP + CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLP 476 (2017, Europe) Full album on both media - no bonus

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LONELY ROBOT The Big Dream ratings distribution

(94 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

LONELY ROBOT The Big Dream reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars British multi-instrumentalist John Mitchell takes time out once again from Frost*, the reworked version of It Bites and Neo- Proggers Arena to deliver his second work under the solo project name Lonely Robot, after its debut a few years back. The first album `Please Come Home' was a reliable and easy-to-enjoy (if - whisper it - an occasionally slightly bland) atmospheric rock disc, but Mr Mitchell steps up in a big way here with 2017's `The Big Dream' to deliver a far more memorable follow-up that improves on the groundwork laid on that initial effort in every way. Tighter arrangements, some heavier touches for added drama and, most important of all, punchier vocal rock/pop pieces that retain lyrical intelligence whilst still containing ear-worm melodies that lodge themselves in the brain are all present, and they're carried by Mr Mitchell's always distinctively raspy voice that reminds why he's one of the most quietly charismatic singers in modern prog.

Lonely Robot is hardly some super prog-rock blowout, but instead of lengthy and histrionic showboating soloing, ambitious rock with a keen focus on intelligent words and smart song-writing is the order of the day here, with Mitchell choosing carefully when to unleash with sparingly used epic guitar journeys to raise the pulse and emotional heft of the tunes. Listeners who liked the modern discs of artists such as Sound of Contact and David Kerzner will find quite a similar sound here, and those with longer memories might even find it often calls to mind Mitchell's own one-off but fondly remembered Kino album from 2005 that saw him collaborating with former Porcupine Tree drummer Chris Maitland and Marillion's Pete Trewavas. `The Big Dream' is not a concept work as such, but one that carries over themes and ideas present on the first 2015 disc, and many of the songs here hold a reflective lyric that makes them easily relatable outside of the branching yet cryptic story.

After `Prologue - Deep Sleep's mysterious twinkling ambiance and melancholic spoken word opening, `Awakenings' kicks off the album proper with a gutsy rock tune of muscular grinding guitars and spectral synths in-between a rousing chorus that hides surreal dream-like words. John is joined by female backing singer Bonita McKinney (the duo sound great whenever they share vocals together throughout the disc) for `Sigma', another introspective rock tune with a killer chorus wedged between jangling guitars and slinking electronics, and listen out for the deceptively subtle reggae touches hidden here and there! The pair slow things down for the reflective power ballad `In Floral Green' with a dreamy chorus kissed by the gods of pop that trails off with a sweet falsetto vocal, and John lets rip briefly with a fiery heartfelt electric guitar solo that burns to the heavens.

`Everglow' pounds with louder guitar and synth bombast again for a tune that wouldn't have sounded out of place on those above mentioned Sound of Contact/David Kerzner releases with its wordy but catchy chorus. Then we hit one of the album highlights, `False Light', that will have listeners wondering if John snuck in former Lonely Robot guest and Steven Wilson Band cohort Nick Beggs due to the aggressive and relentlessly buoyant bass that leaps around one-time Pendragon (and also Steven Wilson Band) Craig Blundell's stormy busy drumming, and John's sparkling keyboards throughout are another standout feature.

`Symbolic' is a breathless and frantic up-tempo rocker where parts of the ringing guitars remind of proudly proggy British indie-poppers Mansun, and the optimistic `The Divine Art Of Being' could have easily fit on the early romantic Pendragon albums or the more streamlined `Nomzamo/Are You Sitting Comfortably?' era of I.Q. The eight-minute `The Big Dream' delivers the sole big purely instrumental moment of the disc, plodding with brooding heavy guitars with epic Pink Floyd-like soloing, grumbling staccato bass rumbles, ghostly Mellotron veils, gothic synth grandiosity and eclectic Steve Hackett-esque nightmare/dream-like interludes. `Hello World, Goodbye' is perhaps the closest the album comes to a classy Peter Gabriel- like duet ballad with Bonita returning but still finds time for some crisp guitar soloing from John, and `Epilogue - Sea Beams' is a final ambient reprise with pristine piano and light folky themes to close on.

(Not to be entirely ignored, the CD version comes with three bonus tracks. First up are charming acoustic versions of both `In Floral Green' and `The Divine Art Of Being', and while they don't alter the proper album versions too drastically, they instantly reveal what first-rate tunes they are at their core. Then there's a new spin on `Why Do We Stay' from the first Lonely Robot album sung by ex-Touchstone singer, the delightful Kim Seviour, who contributed to `Please Come Home' back in '15, and this new version reminds that she's a charming singer with a maturity well beyond her young years, and it moves the piece to something not far removed from a band like Mostly Autumn.)

Some will find that `The Big Dream' doesn't quite tick enough more obvious `prog' boxes often enough, but listeners who appreciate well-crafted, excitingly performed and interesting rock albums that crossover into prog will discover plenty to like here, and it's so easy to replay often and enjoy even on a surface level. The album seems to be slipping under the radar a little bit this year when it and John Mitchell in general deserve much more attention, but on the strength of `The Big Dream', looks like this Lonely Robot's going to be picking up plenty of extra friends in the near future!

Four stars.

Review by friso
3 stars Lonely Robot is the project of guitarist and composer John Mitchell, who is arguably most well know for his contributions to Arena, It Bites, Kino and Frost. On his second album the metal-infused neo-prog is combined with dreamscape-type symphonic rock. Perhaps slightly towards the alternative prog of Gazpacho. The compositions use the progressive rock pallet, but are quite poppy and easy on the listeners ears. I myself prefer the darker songs in which the riffs and synths do remind me of Arena's better moments. The vocals of Mitchell are solid, but often dreamy and a bit detached - if not robotic. The first halve of the album does offer enough well-written songs to keep me interested, but during the second halve everything starts sounding a lot alike. Perhaps this atmospheric continuity and flow is just the point of this album. The sci-fi lyrics fit the music, but add to the feeling that there is no real public addressed here; as if the music is more of a meditation pointed at the performer itself. John Mitchell is one of my favorite modern guitarists and he isn't shying away of giving some great technical solo's. The lack of really interesting backdrops to his guitar wizardry is quite imminent though. There is not a single guitar part that reaches the musical genius of a track like Arena's 'Elea' or 'This Way Madness Lies'. Still this is a highly enjoyable neo-prog related release that should be enjoyed by most listeners of the genre. Its the type of music I play while driving my noisy car, when music with great depth and detail is lost on me anyway. 'The Big Dream' is my favorite Lonely Robot album thus far.

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