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LONELY ROBOT

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Lonely Robot biography
John Christian Mitchell - Born 21 June 1973 in Shannon, Clare, Ireland

LONELY ROBOT is a British Crossover Prog solo project from journeyman guitarist John MITCHELL. Mihchell joined the progressive scene as the guitar player for supergroup ARENA in 1997. He had a big set of shoes to fill as he replaced outgoing Keith MORE (ASIA) but has done more than adequately remaining a mainstay with the band throughout their heyday, holding his own while trading solos off with prog legend Clive NOLAN (PENDRAGON). While maintaining his commitment to ARENA, MITCHELL continued to build his prog resume with THE URBANE, John WETTON (ASIA, KING CRIMSON), KINO, FROST*, IT BITES and most recently GALDALF'S FIST. In addition to his impressive guitar work, MITCHELL was also the lead singer for KINO and IT BITES.

In 2014, MITCHELL decided it was time to do his own project. On the Inside Out record label's announcement, MITCHELL stated:

''I'd long thought about doing an album where I could have total control from start to finish with the music, lyrics, production, and choosing who I wanted to contribute - expanding from the idea of just a solo album. Musically, this album is very proggy, but more about atmosphere than technical expertise, inspired by my love of science fiction and interest in the evolution of the human race.''

His first album under the LONELY ROBOT moniker, ''Please Come Home'' was released in February 2015 and features a series of prog notables including standing drummer Craig BLUNDELL (Steven WILSON touring band, FROST*). The album also features guest appearances by Nick BEGGS (KAJAGOOGOO, Steven WILSON), Nik KERSHAW, Steve HOGARTH (MARILLION), Heather FINDLAY (MOSTLY AUTUMN) and Jem GODFREY (FROST*). MITCHELL's earthy voice is reminiscent of his time singing for IT BITES while the music is more akin to his work with FROST* and ARENA. Fans of MITCHELL's other bands as well as fans of atmospheric somewhat poppy prog may enjoy LONELY ROBOT.

::Roland113::

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The Big DreamThe Big Dream
Import
Imports 2017
Audio CD$11.31
$17.25 (used)
Please Come HomePlease Come Home
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$11.97
$12.97 (used)
Big Dream (Bonus Track)Big Dream (Bonus Track)
Import
BELLE ANTIQUE 2017
Audio CD$19.99
$42.89 (used)
Please Come Home by Lonely RobotPlease Come Home by Lonely Robot
Imports
Audio CD$41.65
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LONELY ROBOT discography


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LONELY ROBOT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.55 | 55 ratings
Please Come Home
2015
3.84 | 50 ratings
The Big Dream
2017

LONELY ROBOT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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LONELY ROBOT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

LONELY ROBOT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Big Dream by LONELY ROBOT album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.84 | 50 ratings

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The Big Dream
Lonely Robot Crossover Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

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.

 Please Come Home by LONELY ROBOT album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.55 | 55 ratings

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Please Come Home
Lonely Robot Crossover Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Lonely Robot is the project name for a solo work by British musician John Mitchell, well known in prog circles for his association with a wide range of progressive acts such as Arena, It Bites, Kino and Frost*. An exceptional guitarist as well as having one of the most charismatic voices in modern prog, Mitchell also frequently displays a strong ear for keen melodies, and that quality shines through much of `Please Come Home'. Ambitious rock is the order of the day here over full-blown progressive epics, but there's plenty of unpredictable diversions to keep things interesting. As well as the album featuring Kajagoogoo/Steven Wilson Band musician Nick Beggs on bass, Marillion's Steve Hogarth, ex-Mostly Autumn's Heather Findlay, the lovely Kim Seviour of Touchstone and other modern prog notables all make standout contributions as well.

Despite retaining Mitchell's catchy choruses, winning harmonies and overall usual accessible arrangements, `Please Come Home' instantly stands apart from his work with It Bites by incorporating plenty of aggressive blasts of heavy electric guitar, often making it perhaps his hardest hitting work to date. With recurring science fiction themes peppering the narrative, the album throws up gutsy sleek rockers like `God vs Man', as well as atmospheric pop with `The Boy in the Radio', `Oubliette' and `Construct/Obstruct'. The melancholic and brooding `Are We Copies?' almost channels Polish prog-metal kings Riverside, and the stark piano, moody guitar soloing and pulsing bass of `A Godless Sea' instantly reminds of Arena. There's even welcome shorter instrumentals with the bombastic Ayreon-like symphonic `Airlock' and a sweet fragile lullaby `The Red Balloon' to close on.

There's a few exceptional standout moments on the disc as well. Steve Hogarth offers delicate piano on `Why Do We Stay', a classy ballad which could have come straight off the last few Anathema albums, John's warm raspy tones complimented by Heather Findlay's silken voice. The sombre yet uplifting ballad `Humans Being' with its soaring chorus could have easily fit on Mitchell's Kino album from 2005. But the real highlight is the eight minute `Lonely Robot'. The longer running time means the track moves through several different passages, incorporating everything from repeated chiming guitar Coldplay-like jangling radio friendly verses , a crunchy pop-perfection chorus, drifting ambient piano interludes, dreamy electric guitar ruminations and even latter-day Porcupine Tree heavy outbursts.

Fans of the diverse range of sounds found on the later Anathema and Porcupine Tree albums, bands like the Pineapple Thief, Sound of Contact, and Mitchell's own version of the band It Bites should find much to appeal to them here, as the Lonely Robot project shares a similar focus on strong accessible melodies front and center over prog-rock showboating. The last two It Bites albums `The Tall Ships' and `Map of the Past' are probably just that little bit stronger and will likely be returned to more often, but `Please Come Home' is still an ideal purchase for those who fondly remember that above mentioned Kino album, lovers of melodic prog in general, and any fans of the talented Mr Mitchell.

Three and a half stars.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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