Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Steve Lukather: Transition 5 Star Review

Classic Rock Radio Dot EU - New Music from Classic Rockers
Spot Light: Steve Lukather - Transition (2013 Mascot Records)

I spent the last week getting to know some new music from Steve Lukather. He has a brand new CD out titled; Transition. In an recent interview on his official website he states that the title is appropriate for where he is in life nowadays. I conclude, the theme kind of glues the songs together for a lose concept album. A topic not only Steve's fan-base will identify with, for older or younger, it's a part of the human condition. A vast pool of writing material.

Right away I'll state that this isn't the usual type of music I listen to on a daily basic. The music here has a more standard rock n' roll approach then I usually get into. My purchase, ignited by curiously. Steve's a founding member of the classic rock band; Toto. He also isn't shy about appearing on other people's music. So combine my admiration for Toto in general (I really dig Toto 4) with Steve's other playing outside that band, and it answers why I would spend as much time as I have, getting into these new songs. Bottom line is I know Steve's an outstanding guitar player, and all around musician. It's not throwing away money when you're already kind of brand loyal. The dude in the past has consistently put out above average products, thus giving him the reputation of always putting out high quality work. And like I said, involves himself in some very cool side projects as well. Example; Steve's on Alice Cooper's From The Inside (1978). One of my favorite Cooper concept albums. Enough getting around like that, and it's easy to understand how someone like Mr. Lukather becomes an automatic buy. No need to sample on i-Tunes. Dude's already proven himself. As soon as I learned Steve had a new solo coming out, I did a pre-sale offer. Am happy to report -- I didn't waste a dime.

The CD starts off with a couple of catchy tunes. Both capable of being captured by your mind for future playbacks. Happens to me several times during the time span I been checking Steve's new CD out. More then once, was doing some kind of mundane chore, and all the sudden a line (lyric) from either the first two songs on the disc, Judgement Day or Creep Motel, will pop in my mind. That's a big clue as to when I know something is good. The tune stays with me without having to physically hear it. If I wanted to right now by memory, I could whistle the chorus to either song. Solid keyboard work as well on both songs as well as Steve's signature guitar playing, and lead vocals.

Track three is entitled; Once Again. One of the best power ballads I heard in a while. Nice song. Should be a hit on the more adult rock orientated music stations. Again, a very catchy chorus. Beautiful playing from all involved.

Track Four, Right The Wrong, is another radio friendly song for all of the same reasons already mentioned. Contains a rather infectious groove. Impressive bass and keyboard intro also.

Track five is the the title song, Transition. On first listen of this CD, this song was the first song to get an instant repeated play from me. An almost instrumental, we don't hear vocals until like the four minute mark. Very metal-prog. Not only that, one of my favorite up and coming bass players, Tal Wilkenfeld plays on this. Also, very tasty keyboard work from CJ Vanston / Steve Weingart.

Next comes a song with catchy lyrical lines I like. Not that I'm a lyrics person. Seriously, the majority of time I don't pay lyrical content any thought. Sometimes words make a song, memorable. I should remind of that every now and then, especially when writing about what in essence, is a listening experience. Nice poetry here. Mature themes. A working combination with the musical content.

Wanna feel upbeat? Play the seventh track; Do I Stand Alone.

Now here's the sign of a good mix / producer (produced by Steve Lukather and CJ Vanston. Engineered and mixed by CJ Vanston). The CD tones down a bit. Steve gets bluesy in the next offering; Rest Of The World. A solid job on the vocals including back up; Renee Jones and Jack Rainies.

The last song on the track is very special indeed. An showcase for Steve's guitar playing. An instrumental called; Smile. In the liner notes Mr. Lukather mentions dedication to his deceased Mother. His playing reminiscent to Steve Hunter. The history of the song, most fascinating. Written by silent film screen star; Charles Chaplin. Words added later down the road, with the song becoming a hit. Put out by one of the biggest names at the time (1954); Nat King Cole. Steve's version is a fitting tribute to both his Mom, and an era gone by.

Uncle G's Rating: Using the one to five star rating system, I rate this; five stars.

Gary Brown
American Corespondent for Classic Rock Radio Dot Eu

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