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Frontiers / Now & Then FRCD084
Produced by: Anders Theander

Released: July 30 / Website
Relatives: Journey, Toto, Triumph

  1. The Devil In Me
  2. Passion Takes Over
  3. Circus
  4. King Of Hearts
  5. One Day
  6. Runaway Train
  7. Engine
  8. Broken Chains
  9. On The Edge
  10. Doris Day
  11. Water

Simple. All Journey and Steve Perry fans need this album now. This album is a smooth, soft-rocking, pure AOR monster.
Urban Tale are the smoothest group of musicians to pass me by in a very long time! Their singer is clearly Steve Perry's long lost brother.
But not only that vocalist Kimmo Blom also reminds me of a very young Rik Emmett and a little Fergie Frederiksen also.
Of all the reviews, this album is one I was most looking forward to talking about, as it has really kicked my butt. I have genuinely been surprised at the sheer quality of this release and it only gets better with every listen.
There is a lot to this album and it is only after 5 or 6 listens that it all falls into place.
Who are Urban Tale? The band are from Finland and this is their debut album.
The guys play their own brand of pure AOR, mixing strands of the more experimental and progressive early Journey and early Toto.
In fact, he is so Steve Perry, if you didn't know better, you would think a young Perry was fronting the band. His vocal sound most reminds me of Perry in his solo mode - mirroring some of the vocal performances of the more jazzy Street Talk and the moody For The Love Of Strange Medicine.
The Devil In Me kicks off the album in a style not unfamiliar to Stan Bush's Midwestern roots, but as soon as the vocals kick in, it's Journey meets Toto. The chorus lifts you to another world. Truly an uplifting track.
Passion Takes Over is an upbeat, uplifting pop rocker with a jazzy feel, in line with early Journey and filled with even higher soaring vocals.
Circus sees vocalist Blom sounding dead on for Steve Perry in his Street Talk mode. The song however, features intricate instrumental passages reminiscent of early Toto at their progressive peak.
King Of Hearts is a killer AOR song. In my opinion, this will be right up there in the best of 2001 AOR lists. A heartfelt rock ballad, the vocal is pure bliss and the instrumental backing detailed. UI can't believe how close this is to Steve Perry.
One Day is a pure Perry power ballad of the highest order. Emotion filled and a song for every single lover out there in search of the one. A sure fire hit if Journey ever released it.
Runaway Train again sounds like Steve Perry, but there's also a good dose of Rik Emmett in there. A good uptempo pop anthem, with lots of AOR harmonies and layers of sound.
Both Engine & Broken Chains are in the mould of solo Perry with touches of easy listening Mr. Mister. Very classy and laid back romantic Westcoast songs.
On The Edge turns again to the band's jazzy pop edge. Very early Journey in style.
Doris Day turns back to a more layered AOR feel at a good stage to pick the tempo up again. A good strong chorus and powerful lead vocal.
Water closes the album. This track is again soft and jazzy, with a great clear mix of the instruments.
BOTTOM LINE: Just superb. This is very soft easy going AOR, just as both Steve Perry's solo records have been. The big surprise is that this matches the quality of those releases and could easily have been a major label release in any era - 1985 or now.
For any fan of soft, romantic, heartfelt & passionate songs with a soft AOR tone, this is brilliant and I am sure it will be on high rotation for some time.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Fans of the smoother side of Journey and Steve Perry's solo recordings, fans of soft and occasionally jazzy Westcoast AOR.

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