Jeff Scott Soto
Lost In The Translation
Let's be straight – everyone knows I am a huge Jeff Scott Soto fan and am also behind his Australian tour due to start next week. So I'm being upfront in my appreciation for Jeff's music, but I have never held back from an honest review in the past and that remains the case here.|
But you will see from the points awarded that there is really nothing but good news to report on here. And once fans hear the album in it's entirely, I believe that almost everyone will agree in principle with my positive review.
I also doubt you will find a single negative review about this album anywhere.
How good it rates with individual fans will vary, but I believe the consensus will be that this is Jeff's best solo album to date and possibly his best ever album to date.
I stated within my review of the EP that Jeff has a hands on approach with his fans and listens to their comments. And Jeff just keeps getting better.
The feeling was that fans wanted a more rocking album this time around and Jeff delivers big time. This is one of his hardest rocking releases, with some top of the line songwriting backing up the tougher band feel of the album.
The band need a special mention, as Howie Simon and Gary Schutt have formed a strong musical bond with Jeff and months on the road together have strengthened their sound and their understanding of each other.
That why this "solo" album sounds like such a great band record. The guys really work together well and the tracks have been perfectly mixed, giving all instruments and importantly, Jeff's voice, room to breathe. Drummer on Lost In The Translation is Beautiful Creatures' Glen Sobel. He's a class act in any situation.
The tougher path taken here, with only a couple of ballads to add balance is something I hope we will hear more of. Track By Track:
The album opens with Believe In Me – previewed already as a single and familiar to most I'm sure. The track features Neal Schon on guitar, who co-wrote the track with Jeff. After being considered for Soul Sirkus, it was decided to use the track for Jeff's solo album. This is a great Journey styled melodic rocker with a huge chorus hook. However, being that the track features a different guitarist and was from another recording session, sonically it doesn't quite match the heavier sound of the rest of the album. This is a lighter melodic rock moment, which I think would have been better placed elsewhere within the album rather than the opening track.
Soul Divine is where the album should have started from. This track gives a true induction of what Lost In The Translation is all about and rocks accordingly. Howie Simon's crunchy guitar chords are noticeably heavier than we've heard before and the overall sound is tougher and darker than on Prism. Drummer Glen Sobel's hard hitting style is the perfect base for the track. Like many of Jeff's songs, this and other tracks on the album take several listens to get to know, with melodies becoming ever more prevalent each and every listen.
Drowning steps things up another notch. Howie's guitar playing is even more intense and direct and really drives this uptempo rocker. This is a trademark JSS track, with a snappy verse that bursts into a guitar fuelled chorus with harmony vocals adding melody and texture. Jeff's vocals are somewhat more aggressive than we might usually expect and sound perfect. Fans will love this one.
If This Is The End is the first of a couple of ballads on the album. Once again this could be described as a typical JSS track. Acoustic driven and featuring a soaring and sentiment laced vocal, the track builds intensity to a rousing guitar driven climax. The monster chorus and some truly soulful vocals make it one of Jeff's best ever ballads.
Lost In The Translation sees a return to the hard hitting guitar sound of Soul Divine and Drowning. Another track that doesn't immediately seem catchy, this track - with an certain attitude - does feature a strong chorus that gets better with each listen.
Doin' Time is a slower and darker number, featuring an aggressive edge and using several different layers to fully paint a picture. Howie shines again with some fine guitar parts.
High Time picks the tempo back up, with a free flowing melodic rock anthem which is a little lighter than some of the other more intense moments on the album. This is a great driving track that comes closest to the sound of Believe In Me and that of the previous album Prism. Gary Schutt handles guitar duties in this instance.
Beginning 2 End is the album's second ballad. This features a very cool piano into and another strong, soulful vocal. The chorus sees the full band come in and complete another classy ballad.
Time to rock again and On My Own features that dirty, aggressive, somewhat modern rock guitar tone of earlier tracks and a typical attitude filled vocal from Jeff. The chorus is short and snappy, with layers of harmony vocals adding depth to the sound.
Both Jeff and Frontiers Records had their views on the track listing, but I'm still not sure how Find Our Way found its way back here. Possibly the best track on the album, I would have liked to have seen this featured in the first 3 or 4 tracks. However, its strength cannot be denied in any position and positioned at track 10 it does add power to the tail end of the album. Simply put, Find Our Way is a hard rocking monster! It starts with a burst of guitars, gets straight to business with a smoldering riff, then explodes come chorus time. This is a fabulous harmony driven rock n roll anthem that's best played at maximum volume.
Sacred Eyes is a great way to close out the album. This is another slice of textbook JSS – an acoustic based feel good pop song, with a monster vocal and self-supplied harmony vocals.
But wait, there's a bonus track on offer and what a great addition to the album. Dulce Lady is a groovy hard rocker written by Jeff with Howie and featuring the same hard hitting sound as Drowning and Doin' Time. This is a mid-tempo hard rocker with another catchy chorus and some fine guitar work.
This is a tougher, more cohesive album than Prism, which also features an impressive line up of classic styled JSS songs. When listening back to this one gets the feeling that everything just came naturally and what results is a classic slice of melodic hard rock that will not only blow established fans away, but also draw in a new range of converts.
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