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Rewired
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  • This is one cool double-CD set from Mike + the Mechanics -- Rewired + the Hits, subtitled "The Latest and the Greatest," may be nothing more than a marketing ploy, but considering that it's been eight years since a best-of on the group has been prepared, it's considerate of Virgin Records to package it in this way. As it happens, Rewired is a fine record in its own right, a mix of pop/rock synth-orchestrated balladry that favorably recalls both the mid-'70s work of Genesis and the more pop-focused work of Phil Collins -- Paul Carrack's singing is excellent, and Mike Rutherford's and Robbie McIntosh's playing (and Rutherford's programming) are seamless and always interesting; only when Rupert Cobb takes over the programming, on "Perfect Child," does the music veer a little too far out of rock and into the pop category, but the interlude is forgivable and the song is pretty enough to carry off the switch in mood. The hits compilation has an equally "hot" sound despite the fact that it is comprised of cuts that are years -- even decades -- older, opening with "All I Need Is a Miracle '96," the punchier remake of the '80s track that has since become ubiquitous on television commercials. Assembling music from the earlier incarnation of the band with Paul Young as singer, the hits compilation works well in context with the new recordings on the other disc, distilling down the highlights of the band's history, including the rousing, hook-laden "Word of Mouth" and the ethereal, Genesis-like "The Living Years." The sound throughout is excellent, and the only element that might have made this package better would be a short historical note of some sort, and some recording dates and session information on the hits. ~ Bruce Eder
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