Friday, October 12, 2018
LABEL: FANTASY RECORDS
REVIEW BY: ALAN HOLLOWAY
Nearly a quarter of a century after his last solo effort, legendary Journey vocalist Steve Perry has surprised many people by coming back to the music scene to fulfil a promise to his deceased partner. So far, so Movie Of The Week, but as we all know Steve Perry is one of the most respected and missed vocalists in the genre, so the excitement and expectation has been at tsunami level. The thing is, have people let their love for the man overcome their critical senses? Well... yeah, mostly.
'Traces' starts off very well with 'No Erasin', a pleasingly upbeat track that is probably the one most liklely to appeal to Journey fans, followed closely by the hauntingly beautiful second track 'We're Still Here', a powerful ballad with a catchy refrain that would have slotted in nicely on the likes of the ballad heavy 'Raised On Radio'. So far, so good, and it's no surprise that these two tracks were promoted ahead of the album release date because they capture what we love about Steve perry's voice.
After the initial one-two punch the album gets into a ballad focused groove that has certainly split fans opinions. Whilst I'm not a huge fan of ballads myself I still adore a well written one - for example, one of my favourite Journey tracks is 'I'll Be Alright WIthout You' in all it's wimpy, syrupy glory. So what I'm saying here is I'm no hater, and I fully understand that the circumstances around the album and the age of the man himself were always likely to lend themselves to slower, more introspective songs.
The best thing about 'Traces' is, as expected, Perry's vocals. There's a hint of throatiness in there that isn't unwelcome, and it's simply a joy to hear new music sung with this much talent and passion. 'No More Cryin', a mid paced, sorta sleepy track, makes great use of The Voice and is the third of my top three tracks on the album, after the opening couple.On the other side of the coin is the track that follows it: 'In The Rain'. Lyrically, it's heartbreakingly sad, but as a song the structure just makes it a chore to listen to, more a funeral dirge than a track for the masses. A few tracks sit closer to this camp than the 'I Love Listening To This' camp, such as 'You Belong To Me', 'Most Of All' and, to be brtually honest, the final three tracks as well. 'Sun Shines Grey' breaks up the cloying syrup with a more upbeat, catchy refrain, but th second half of the album remains a bit of a slog nonetheless.
Whilst I wanted to love 'Traces' and wanted to welcome Perry back with open arms (natch), it's not an album I will be coming back to in full, more an album that will have a few select tracks amputated and added to my playlist, leaving the others to vanish in the mist. There are plenty of people who love the album, but go in forewarned and try to listen to it without rose tinted headphones. It's good, but it's just not as good as I was hoping.