It’s been difficult to understand how the Bee Gees can consistently come off so unflaggingly moronic on television and still make good music. But, although their last three LP’s (with scattered exceptions) seemed determined to prove they’d lost the knack, Mr. Natural is a different story. There’s a vigor which has been missing from recent records: The group seems altogether more interested in writing good songs and making strong records. The title track, a natural hit that wasn’t, has a perfectly enthralling chorus, an attribute shared by a substantial number of cuts. “Down The Road” is a spirited rocker, “Dogs” sounds like a tailor-made Elton John number, and “Had a Lot of Love Last Night” is quite pretty.
The slushy opener, “Charade,” proves the Bee Gees can still cook up monumental turkey. But, in general, Mr. Natural is an encouraging album. It recaptures the potentially widespread appeal of their early efforts, and injects new life into what could easily have become a moribund institution.