Album Review: MGT – “Volumes”
What do you do when you’ve spent over thirty years on the music scene bouncing around the studio and on the live circuit with various bands and suddenly, you find yourself with a little down time? You make a few phone calls to some friends and record your first solo album! For many who have been following the career of Mark Gemini Thwaite, this move may be seen as long overdue, and over time working with the likes of The Mission, Mice, Mob Research, Tricky, and Ricky Warwick, it comes as no surprise that some members of the above appear on the album.
We already got a sampler a few weeks back as the the video of MGT’s rendition of ABBA’s Knowing Me, Knowing You featuring HIM’s Ville Valo surfaced and was generally considered a pleasant surprise. Volumes features a total of 14 tracks weighing in over an hour of the goth journeyman’s collaborations with Julianne Regan (All About Eve), Wayne Hussey (The Mission), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls (The Wonder Stuff), Ashton Nyte (The Awakening) and Ricky Warwick (The Almighty, Black Star Riders) just to name a few who lend their vocal talents.
For all their contributions, we need to remind ourselves that it’s MGT who is the main focus here. Mark’s guitar work is instantly recognisable, and fans of his output with The Mission, specifically the Aura and God Is A Bullet releases will find themselves enjoying this. Especially songs like It Won’t Take U Long and You Can’t Go Back, which will answer what The Mission would have sounded like had they been fronted by Miles Hunt, while tracks like The Reaping and Jesamine which feature Ashton Nyte will satisfy old school goths who may feel their scene has been lacking for a while.
Another standout track is Star Struck Eyes featuring Julianne Regan, who has been busy in her own right over the years working with The Eden House and Wayne Hussey. Her vocals with MGT’s guitars fit like a hand into a custom made glove. Republica’s Saffron appears on Human League’s Seconds, reviving an overlooked classic. The only downsides are that Warwick and Hussey’s contributions feel a little out of place. They are by no means bad songs, but they do disturb the flow of the album, and not in a subtle way.
It’s an ambitious project overall when you consider how much talent is spread across one hour, but it goes beyond hitting the bullseye, and tears through the dartboard and into the next room.
MGT has been on the scene for long enough, and he’s proven that he’s lived and learned. He has seen the direction rock and goth has taken and he has incorporated every element to keep fans of every era happy, while making it work with his signature sound that he has developed over the years. By ignoring this release, you will only be doing yourself a great disservice. Give Volumes a spin, repeatedly.