Pony Canyon PCCY-01557
Produced by: Eric Martin

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Relatives: Goo Goo Dolls, Mr. Big
GENRE: Rock / Nu Breed

  1. My Disease
  2. Spaceman
  3. Goin' Sane
  4. Free Of It
  5. Marie
  6. There Goes The Neighborhood
  7. Carnival Of Souls
  8. Untouchable
  9. Bigger Man
  10. Who Am I Supposed To Be
  11. Everyday
  12. Fly*
  13. In Case You Didn't Know*

Most should know that I am a long time Eric Martin fan, both as a solo artist and as singer for Mr. Big.
But even I can be disappointed, as I was by a couple of Mr. Big's middle period albums and mostly by Eric's last solo album - which was classy, but way to soft and polite for my liking.
So I spent several weeks looking forward to this album, but with doubts in the back of my mind as to just how good it would be. After all, Mr. Big had returned only some months ago with a fabulous album that restored a lot of faith for me, but would this solo album do the same?
All that and more! This album totally rocks and has definitely caught me off guard with just how good it is and indeed, just how hard Eric rocks.
Not even on his early records has Eric been so outwardly aggressive in his singing, so I must place this alongside Mr. Big's Actual Size as two of the best albums Eric has been involved in.
Taking his own San Francisco based solo band into the writing and recording sessions for this album, Eric has emerged as a force to be reckoned with, proving that there will indeed be life after Mr. Big (should they permanently disband).
This album may not appeal to the wider fans base of Mr. Big, as it is more in your face than they have been in a long time and style wise is a momentous jump into modern rock territory.
Armed with classy songs and a voice in remarkable touch, Eric proves that he can be as contemporary as those like the Goo Goo Dolls or Marvelous 3.
That's right, this CD is both melodic styled modern hard rock, and punkish rock n roll with a strong commercial edge.
The album gets off to a rocking start, leaving no misunderstanding what's to come. My Disease is a heavy modern rocker featuring distorted guitar, effects channelled vocals in the verses and an aggressive edge not heard in Eric's voice before. This is right in your face and the chorus, as tough as it sounds, is highly memorable as is the song itself. The song changes paths as it goes, but is a fine way to kick start the album.
Spaceman is a little less intense, but still features a modern feel with a punkish delivery. The uptempo rocker runs through pretty quickly, but is still very catchy.
Goin' Sane is more commercial and supports a more familiar sound to classic Mr. Big and Martin fans. Still, it's very much guitar driven in the same in your face style as the rest of the album. The chorus is classic Eric Martin at his catchy anthem best. One of the album's best tracks.
Free Of It features a drum loop intro, briefly making one question what's to follow. But despite the effect that acts as a foundation to the song, the guitar still kicks in and the chorus sounds like it could have come from the last Mr. Big album, just with a modern edge.
Marie is pure punk rock! This frantically paced punk rock is a whole lotta fun and showcases another angle to Eric's musical personality. Punk and modern rock driven, but still very catchy.
There Goes The Neighborhood is a change of pace. Things are relaxed a little for this easier going pop rocker with a slightly earthy feel - might be that organ they use!
Carnival Of Souls is a little more straight ahead, this mid-tempo rocker goes through the paces ok, but doesn't feature a great chorus.
Untouchable sounds hot from the first lick. Just when the album seemingly needed a kick along, this track plants one firmly in the ass! This track rocks and features one of the album's best choruses and will appeal more so to long time fans of Eric. A classic hard rocker and maybe the album's best track.
Bigger Man is ballad time. And can you believe it took until track 9 for the first ballad to be rolled out? A far cry from the last solo album! The song features an occasional female co-lead vocal and is Eric doing his best soulful mid-tempo pop.
It's time to rock again with the funked up, mid-tempo, organ drenched Who Am I Supposed To Be. This is classic Mr. Big from any era. Could have come straight off the last album, or any other for that matter. The most Mr. Big-ish track of the album.
Everyday closes the regular form of the album, in fine Eric Martin sentimental acoustic pop style. One of Eric's better ballads in recent years.
Fly* is the first of the Japanese bonus tracks. This track is another great classic rocker! This is 80's hard rock with a modern edge and is the most straight up rocker of the album. This is 80's anthem hard rock that could easily be featured in a movie soundtrack - something Eric's pretty good at. Huge!
In Case You Didn't Know* is bonus track number two and is a slow to mid tempo bluesy ballad. Not a bad track at all, but not the essential bonus track that must be had.
BOTTOM LINE: Fabulous. It's just great to Eric breaking ot on his own and rocking harder than ever. Songwriting buddy Andre Pessis has a had in 9 of the album's songs, so you know it's always going to contain hooks, melodies and great choruses, despite the more aggressive, modern touch applied through the musical interpretation of the songs.
Together with that last Mr. Big album, Eric has recorded two melodic rock gems and I recommend this as highly as I did the Mr. Big record.
I'll rate it the exact same rating to that of Actual Size. There is no difference in quality, rather it will be down to personal tastes which appeals most to you, if not both. Both rock, but this has a modern edge - Mr. Big was more classic style.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of solo Eric Martin and most fans of Mr. Big. Some modern rock fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Eric Martin Band . Eric Martin . I'm Only Fooling Myself . Somewhere In The Middle . I'm Going Sane

ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100 please)