Mike Rutherford - Acting Very Strange

edited November 2022 in Year-1982


ARTIST: Rutherford, Mike
ALBUM: Acting Very Strange
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 80015-1
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: ? Year, Atlantic, 80015-2


LINEUP: Mike Rutherford - vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards * Daryl Stuermer - guitar * John Alexander - guitar * Stewart Copeland - drums * Paul Fishman - keyboards * Peter Robinson - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Acting Very Strange * 02 A Day To Remember * 03 Maxine * 04 Halfway There * 05 Who's Fooling Who * 06 Couldn't Get Arrested * 07 I Don't Wanna Know * 08 Hideaway


This was the second solo album from the Genesis guitarist, his debut being 1980's excellent 'Smallcreep's Day' which was very Genesis influenced, with definite progressive leanings. Rutherford must have been listening to Phil Collins for inspiration, as this is far more commercial, with leanings towards AOR and new wave at odd moments. It works well and this is a more interesting listen than Collins and almost Genesis themselves during the period. Until a few weeks ago I had no idea this even existed, which shows how diminished its profile has become compared to Rutherford's Mike And The Mechanics project later in the decade.

The Songs

This is an upbeat album full of good time rock tracks and upon first listen I had to check to see if I wasn't listening to a John Entwistle solo album, such is the similarity between Rutherford's and Entwistle's vocals.

The best track is 'Who's Fooling Who', chock full of horns, great melody and a ton of Genesis like keyboard work. One to listen to over and over again.

The title track is a little offbeat in the chorus, reflecting the title, with lots of gloriously dated synths and bouncy bass work.

There's a real heaviness to the guitar work in 'A Day To Remember' and Rutherford's vocals are extremely raw. This gives the impression he should have sung more with Genesis.

'Maxine' is a decent little anthem accompanied by deft keyboard touches pushing this into the realm of powerhouse AOR. This could have been on Genesis 1983 effort and despite being a single it was a relative flop. Even catchier is 'Couldn't Get Arrested' which combines aspects of new wave with melodic rock to perfection, especially in the memorable hook.

There's nothing to fault with 'I Don't Wanna Know' and 'Halfway There,' the latter sounding like an unused Genesis track from 'Duke'.

'Hideaway' is the only low key track, more in keeping with the 1980 debut, but still a very listenable ballad.

In Summary

This deserved a better fate than it got and was obviously buried beneath the success of Genesis' 1983 self-titled release and the overwhelming profile of Collins.

Rutherford reaped massive success with later tracks like 'Silent Running' and 'Living Years' but this is far better in terms of songwriting and musicianship if you ask me. Others may disagree, but Rutherford's best solo work were the two albums under his name. One to watch out for.

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