Picks and Pans Review: Go On...
updated 11/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST
This American quartet has a British cousin in Level 42. Both bands have effective soul-pop writing styles. Both boast good bass players who also happen to be singularly seductive singers—Richard Page for Mr. Mister, and Mark King for Level 42. Of course, in their country, Level 42 are regarded as demigods, while Mr. Mister's second album, Welcome to the Real World, a commercial breakthrough after their I Wear the Face debut, was crucified by critics here. The major gripe was that the music was too slick. Ah, well, only in America. The same cynical set that was put off by Real World won't be won over by Go On. The quality of the material is slightly better, but the music is just as slick. The inspirational nature of Healing Waters is not as blatantly stated as their earlier hit Kyrie. Nor does the new song have Kyrie's cathedral-like sweep. But in its understated way, Healing Waters is just as moving. Stand and Deliver contains verses of coiled strength, thanks to Steve Farris' tightly strummed guitar, as well as a melodically cathartic chorus. The Tube is a rather neat package of music and mood. Page's voice is vibrant and passionate enough to elevate otherwise unremarkable melodies like Something Real (Inside Me/Inside You). Even Page can't help when Mr. Mister goes sailing over the edge into overblown, pompous pieces like Dust (which does contain good stick work by drummer Pat Mastelotto), Control and Watching the World. Okay, so they're slick and sometimes pompous, but there's enough good stuff here to smile when you say that Mr. Mister. (RCA)