It was exactly 32 years ago today when I bought my first Matt Bianco album “Whose Side Are You On”. At the time, it was something totally new and fresh, with the signature vocals of Mark Reilly and Basia Trzetrzelewska and the keyboards of Danny White and hits like “More Than I Can Bear”, “Half A Minute”, or the title track.
Matt Bianco lives on in the shape of singer and songwriter Mark Reilly who has joined forces with the Dutch group New Cool Collective. Together they already recorded a five-track EP and now comes “The Things You Love” with added material recorded in Amsterdam. With the first couple of tracks, “We Should Be Dancing” and the title track, it’s as if Matt Bianco were never really gone. Sounds like a veritable 2016 version of the group.
The brass section is in full effect (Benjamin Herman and David Rockefeller) on “The Stitch” which gets too repetitious towards the end. “Do The Right Thing” starts promising with haunting keyboard work and a latiny piano, and also boasts a cool guitar solo by Rory Ronde (albeit a short one). We are also treated to a remake of “Don’t Blame It On That Girl” (from the 1988 LP “Indigo”) which is pretty close to the original. The retro rockabilly-like “Count Me In” is not for me. Much more accessible is “Cry”, which Mark wrote together with singer Elisabeth Troy (Clean Bandit), an airy midtempo soulful cut where Elisabeth is also featured and gives it a deeper touch. Nice one this!
There is more happy-go-lucky, classic Matt Bianco fare on “Breaking Out” (also featured here with a Nicola Conte remix), and a remake of the New Cool Collective track “Bring It On”, a funky little ditty also getting a Nicola Conte remix. Rounding out the album is the instrumental “Samba Italiano”, cool and breezy and light as a feather. A tour for 2017 is currently in preparation.