Released: 2004, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Mike (originally from Denmark but moved to USA in the 80’s) was one of the founders of the famous band White Lion. One of their biggest hits was “WHEN THE CHILDREN CRY”, a song that many older readers remember (either fondly, or painfully). Well that was in the 80’s and at the beginning of the 90’s when the grunge wave was rising, White Lion shut down. Mike moved along and together with Oliver Steffensen formed the band Freak of Nature who toured endlessly and released two albums. When Freak of Nature was put on ice, Mike concentrated on his solo career.
His first solo album CAPRICORN came in '98 and the follow up RECOVERING THE WASTED YEARS came '02, his third album was released the year after and was called MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS. And after numerous miles on the road, Mike released his first live album in '03 simply called ROCK’N’ROLL ALIVE and that brings us to this new album that I’m gonna review now.
Mike went out on a shorter tour through Denmark and Britain at the end of last year and when he prepared for the tour he went through his archives and compiled some of the songs that were either demoed or recorded during the sessions of his solo albums and simply were “left behind” for various reasons. Mike said the following “Looking back at it, it is not that these songs are any better or worse than the material that ended up on the albums but they simply did not make it on the albums at that time. Sometimes a song just don’t fit the sequence or the mood of the album even though it’s a great song. Listening back to them I realized that this material was still better than a lot of the albums that are being released today and also felt that I had to get these out of the way before I could start working on new material”. So you can easily say that Mike is productive. On this album, or compilation if you want to call it that, Mike has featured 16 tracks from the years between 92 – 02 and that makes you wonder how much material he still has left behind. Mike doesn’t only sing on the album, he’s also taking care of guitar and bass as well as the production. Mikes music is a mix of very melodic hard rock / singer song writer rock and guitar based melodic rock and of course Mike has also featured a lot of ballads and up tempo ballads.
Mike has managed to make a really fine production and the album contains just over an hour of music. Mike has used a lot of different musicians and the most known amongst them must be Steve Lukather (Toto).
“SOMETIMES”, “OVER AND OUT”, “SHOW ME”, “I’LL BE THERE” and “FALLING DOWN” could be taken for some very melodic hardrock or guitar based melodic rock if you want. Parts of these songs really have sing a long friendly choruses. “DO IT WHILE YOU CAN”, “IF I WAS REAL”, “ONE FOR ANGER TWO FOR PAIN”, “I DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU ANYMORE” and “WHAT IF I” are a couple of singer song writer rock tracks in the same line as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. “LOVE WON’T WAIT ON ME”, “BEFORE THE NIGHT”, “I WON’T WALK AWAY”, “LOVE ME SOMEBODY”, “THINK ABOUT THE TIMES” and “DARKNESS” are ballads and up tempo ballads. Mikes voice lies at the top of the mix and in the second song he has used harmonica to set the mood. The fifth song is totally acoustic with only guitar and keyboard, in the middle there is an electric guitar solo. At the end there are a choirs that takes care of the chorus and Mike fades out.
The lasting impression of this album is that it feels shattered, it seems like Mike has difficulties deciding what genre he wants to be in. And again, the songs are all about love….boring. If you’re a fan of Mike you’re probably not going to be disappointed, but it takes a real hardcore fan to enjoy this.
I have no favorite tracks on here, and that’s even though I have given the album a lot of play time. One positive thing though is the cover that looks really good and it’s also positive that Mike still have his voice intact after all these years.