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Articles Home » 2016 Articles » Mecca - 2016 III
Mecca - 2016 III

LABEL: Melodic Rock Records
YEAR: 2016
SPONSOR: Melodic Rock Records


LINEUP: Joe Vana - vocals * Shannon Forrest - drums * David Hungate - bass * Tim Akers - keyboards, piano * David Browning - synthesizers * Mark Baldwin - guitars * Joey Vana - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Take My Hand * 02 Unknown * 03 Alone * 04 Gone * 05 Cry * 06 A Kiss On The Wind * 07 Let It Go * 08 Believe



The Chicago based band Mecca have been a firm favourite of many since their debut CD back in 2002. To describe Mecca in a few words: 'this is probably the next best exponent of AOR and west coast since Toto'. Interestingly for this reviewer, I was drafting the outline of this article and listening to the album at the same time as I was listening to (and writing up) American metal band Sumerlands. A huge contrast sonically. Like chalk and cheese.. night and day. The thing I enjoy about this Mecca record is the clean production, the sparseness across some of the tracks which opens up the sound space for certain instruments to shine, and of course the unique vocals of Joe Vana.

The Songs
'Take My Hand' with its strong vocal and warm guitar struts is a corker of an introduction. The melodies takes an unusual path, but makes it all the more captivating. 'Unknown' is next, with a subdued lead-in, but a gorgeous chorus which underpins the whole thing. The smooth shuffle and ambience of 'Alone' is very alluring. It doesn't shift into high-gear at any stage and that's fine by me, the lush backdrop making for a nice rest area along the journey. The Toto like vibes of 'Gone' has many highlights, but I guess overall - it's the fantastic groove which sets it apart.

We're into the next of our shortened song-titles. This time it's 'Cry', which dances around the light like a firefly. Rolling drums from Shannon Forrest helps the cause, shifting from semi-ballad to something a bit more urgent on the chorus. 'A Kiss On The Wind' is 'Mecca III's most genuine ballad. The piano is emotion soaked, so too the vocal from Joe. The album highlight for me is the effortless 'Let It Go', which rolls along like a freight train full of champagne and marshmallows. Beautiful stuff, with the song written by Mr Mister's talismanic Richard Page. The finale 'Believe' features more piano delicacy from Tim Akers, who also duets with Joe on lead vocals. A nice way to finish up.

In Summary
'Mecca III' is relatively short at a touch over 34 minutes, and contains just the eight tracks. Probably one or two extra tracks would've been great, but I'm not complaining. For those of you who are Toto fans then you definitely need to acquire this on CD. Considering Toto alumni David Hungate and now Shannon Forrest are involved, then you shouldn't need any reminding from me. For me, 'Mecca III' should be there or thereabouts for top 10 honours later in the year.

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#1 | gdazegod on October 21 2016 02:40:27
Mecca - 2016 Let It Go
YouTube Video:

[url=]Direct to YouTube[/youtube]
#2 | DEMONAOR on October 23 2016 07:51:35
A great album for Toto fans indeed.
#3 | Jez on November 12 2016 12:00:00
Very classy, well written and performed and probably the best pure AOR album this year so far. As mentioned, it is a little too short and could have been bolstered with another uptempo track maybe, but it is an excellent album all the same
#4 | TheGrandIllusion on December 10 2016 01:59:33
Clearly the best of AOR album of 2016!
#5 | george_the_jack on April 01 2017 21:08:18
I can't get into this although I desperately tried to like it by giving it several chances in various moods and times.

Another bland and indifferent product of the year 2016. I can't recall a single year in the past decade or so that turned out to be so bad in terms of releases that I liked.
#6 | jeffrey343 on April 03 2017 17:37:05
I've also had a hard time getting into this one. I think it's just too subdued. Not bad - the performances are all excellent, and the production is very good. I keep thinking that it might be one that grows on me.
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