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Lonely Robot / A Model Life is John Mitchell’s crowning achievement to date

John Mitchell must be one of the music industry’s busiest artists. Not content with being singer/guitarist with Frost*, Kino, It Bites, and The Urbane, he also releases solo albums under his Lonely Robot moniker. A Model Life follows on from 2020s Feelings Are Good and continues Mitchell’s personal musical journey.

Lonely Robot – A Model Life (InsideOut)

Release Date: Out Now

Words: Robert Adams

Lonely Robot’s first three albums – 2015s Please Come Home, 2017s The Big Dream and 2019s Under Stars are also known as the astronaut trilogy, with Mitchell adopting a spacesuit with lyrics concerning the trials and tribulations of the astronaut, all wrapped up in gorgeous progressive rock musical motifs. The 2020 Feelings Are Good album saw Mitchell’s lyrics become more personal, and I was blown away by its electronic rhythms and lyrical honesty.

John Mitchell - Lonely Robot - A Model Life
John Mitchell Lonely Robot A Model Life

Now we have A Model Life, and if Feelings Are Good was John Mitchell hanging up his astronaut’s spacesuit and giving us a more personal album, A Model Life is Mitchell’s soul being laid bare to musical accompaniment.

Album opener and first single, Recalibrating, finds Mitchell discussing life after a break up with his long-term partner, and while the lyrics could marry themselves to a plaintive ballad, here we find them married to a strutting single note guitar riff. The result is a track that has you nodding your head despite the heart-breaking, all too real topic of love lost and trying to find your place in this game called life.

Given the personal nature of the lyrics found within A Model Life, it would be so easy for this album to be morbidly maudlin. But to John Mitchell’s credit, it is, for the most part, resolutely upbeat in tempo.

Digital God Machine tackles a genuine 21st Century issue – the anonymous keyboard warriors who spew their vitriol and hate from the safe confines of their computer chairs. It has a riff that starts as confusing, becomes compelling and finally ends up locked in your brain.

It is something that John Mitchell has done with comparative ease throughout his career.

Species In Transition begins with an ominous keyboard drone before a beautiful synthesised piano riff forms this beautiful ballad. Like all the songs in A Model Life, there’s more to this than meets the ear upon first listen. The song features a stunning emotional guitar solo that elevates the beauty further.

The second single to be lifted from the album is Island Of Misfit Toys, with a suitably creepy video accompanying it. This song is for all the outcasts of society that eventually find kindred spirits in each other. Like the recent Day And Age album from Frost*, there’s a uniquely English feel to this track and, indeed, the album as a whole.

Rain Kings has an ominous children’s toy piano intro and again features a heart-tugging lyric.

John Mitchell has been around for quite a number of years in this business we call music as a musician, lyricist, songwriter, producer and engineer. It’s safe to say that he hasn’t had the success that his talent demands, which is criminal, in my opinion.

Any project that features John Mitchell is worthy of your attention if you have a fondness for modern progressive rock. A Model Life is a truly remarkable album that more than equals any of Lonely Robot’s previous releases and is a firm statement that out of personal heartache comes great art.

“Making A Model Life was very much a lifeline and indeed wake-up call at the end of a particularly personally challenging couple of years,” Mitchell said. “Creating it made me realise that ultimately, life is impermanent, and the one true thing that gives me a focus and anchor is and has always been music. Long may that be the case.”

I hope that Mitchell’s personal life improves and his professional life expands in relation to the quality of his output.

A Model Life is Mitchell’s crowning achievement to date and is more than worthy of your attention.

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