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MPG - 1981 MPG

YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2010, Retrospect Records, RR-357


LINEUP: Steve Carey - vocals, keyboards * David Mikeal - guitars, vocals * Kim Smith - guitars, vocals * Steve Locklin - bass, vocals * Michael Bolt - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Too Many Questions * 02 Workin' Overtime * 03 Best Thing I Never Had * 04 Goodbye Cruel World * 05 Why Me * 06 Get Yours Tonight * 07 Hurt Me * 08 Can I Come Over Tonight? * 09 Always Something * 10 Too Many Questions (demo) * 11 Always Something (demo) * 12 Hurt Me (demo) * 13 That's Easy For You To Say (demo)

The Heavy Metal Encyclopedia got it wrong I reckon, especially when it came to categorising this band MPG. 'Cheap Trick quirkisms?' What a lot of rubbish. How about prime-time Touch, with a healthy dose of Face Dancer and New England thrown in for good measure? With main man Steve Carey behind the scenes, these boys are pomp pomp pomp.. all the way. You can tell Mr Carey's got some Mark Mangold touches in his playing, and is ably supported by a great band. Originating out of Atlanta, some of these guys came from all over the South to join up. Mikeal came from Florida, while Locklin and Bolt came from Alabama. Smith, the odd man out came from Indiana. Signed to a lucrative deal with A&M, their one and only effort is notable for it's disappointing show at the box-office, despite critics giving this debut the thumbs up!

The Songs
MPG (which stands for.. you guessed it.. miles per gallon) originally had a guitarist in the band with the surname Miles, hence the name. However when he left, they just shortened it. Just as well, as MPG are part of AOR folklore now. Just check out the staccato brilliance of 'Too Many Questions', full to the brim of stabbing keyboards and spiky guitar runs. 'Workin' Overtime' continues the addictive AOR approach, like a copy cat version of New England. The Touch comparison is heralded on the primo classic 'Best Thing I Never Had'. Following on from this are the pairing of 'Goodbye Cruel World', a pomp meisterwork which our Face Dancer friends could easily pull out of the fire, plus we finish Side One with the symphonic tendencies of 'Why Me'. Side Two gets underway with the heavy driving power of 'Get Yours Tonight' with ivories tinkling on overkill, again Touch and Face Dancer are reference points. The energy is maintained on 'Can I Come Over Tonight' with guitar bursts and spiralling keys coming out of the speakers. They finish on the semi-ballad 'Always Something', complete with multi-part vocal harmonies on the chorus. Really, excellent stuff all round.

In Summary
There is talk of getting this re-released on CD, but as David Mikeal said in a recent interview, 'thats all it is.. talk'. Even the likelihood of getting the band together for a reunion which reared it's head in 1999 seems to have fallen by the wayside. Who knows, with a bit more attention to detail from the likes of G-DAZE and fellow melodic rock websites who actually care about this genre of melodic rock, MPG just might get another crack at the cherry. If a label like MTM Music or Retrospect Records wants to invest in a decent re-issue along the lines of what they've been doing, they couldn't do any worse than this one. (Footnote: reissued by Retrospect in 2010. Well done to the McCaslin's)

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#1 | richardb on June 08 2008 09:24:35
A compulsive purchase for any pomp rock fan. 'Too many questions' is an out and out classic.

Richard B
#2 | rkbluez on March 15 2010 21:49:24
A massively overlooked gem from I recall this was only around in our area as promo copies...not sure if AandM even gave this a legit release...what a shame as this is by far one of the best records released that year hands down...when you talk about obscure classic's this one should be near the top of the list...brilliant...this is the type of record Rock Candy should invest in instead of mediocre stuff like Reggie Knighton.
#3 | Eric on March 15 2010 23:09:18
this is the type of record Rock Candy should invest in instead of mediocre stuff like Reggie Knighton.


It's Oliver's show, but.... I 'd like to see stuff like Marselle, Hellfield, Fastbuck, Jet (RTB produced), Sweeney Todd (debut), Sidewinders (Billy Squier's pre-Piper band), Black Sheep and a host of 70's stuff put out, instead of more 80's AOR but then I never thought MPG was all that...
#4 | reyno-roxx on March 16 2010 17:22:11
Certainly if the licence can be obtained.....MPG's belongs to Universal Music. Don't think Derek has no interest in putting stuff like this out Smile
#5 | swazi on March 17 2010 13:37:15
To be found on the website of Retrospect Records:

'MPG, Mpg (1981), Finally, after years and years of waiting, this melodic pomp rock / AOR treasure gets an official re-issue, digitally remastered and will also include bonus unreleased tracks that MPG recorded for a second album that never materialized! We can't wait to get this one out there!'

Looking forward to that release! Smile
#6 | super80boy on May 17 2013 02:54:58
I've had this one for years, but recently spun it and this great AOR music gets better with time. Side 1 has a back to back gem duo with the infectious melodies of 'Best Thing I Never Had' and the catchy chorus of 'Goodbye Cruel World'. Side 2 starts with 'Get Yours Tonight' which has a top notch keyboard melody. Then you get the funky keyboard inflected pomp of 'Hurt Me', cool song all the way around. The urgent synth stab spirit of 'Can I Come Over Tonight' is ear AOR candy! Verdict - A hands down top drawer AOR album.

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