Given that his Lonely Robot project is in full swing, God knows how John Mitchell found the time to co-found a new label (with record company owner Chris Hillman) and record its first EP.
But that’s exactly what he’s done with White Star Records and its inaugural title The Nostalgia Factory – four heartfelt covers from different artistes, all with proggy roots, in their own ways. It’s headed by the title track, the Porcupine Tree song, which sets an assertive, 90s ‘nu-prog’ impression before the Flying Colors-style cover of It Won’t Be Easy (the theme from short-lived 80s UK sci-fi show Star Cops). Ex-Touchstoner Kim Seviour provides backing vocals on two tracks and her pretty, crystal-clear strain runs against Mitchell’s earnest, breathy tone, which thrives on Phil Collins’ Take Me Home, complete with Collins-alike upbeat, world-meets-new-age percussion. A delicately brooding cover of ELP’s C’est La Vie wraps things up, climaxing with almost Walking In The Air-like passion, before ending quietly. Yes, it’s a pretty short EP and yes, it’s a covers collection, but it’s a good one. The label will be properly judged on its first LPs, but for now, this is a tantalising taster of White Star’s line.