SCORE - 98%
The mighty Jeff Scott Soto celebrates his birthday week with the release of a brand-new solo album that seems him paired for the first time with Frontiers in-house go to guy Alessandro Del Vecchio. That will draw some automatic presumptions over the sound and style of this record, which I must immediately dispel.
This is not a project release that has Jeff phoning in his vocals. Fans of Jeff will already know that he doesn’t put his name on anything that doesn’t include his heavy involvement, and this is even more true of a record that bares his name.
Tasked with production and music, Alessandro has worked in partnership with Jeff, who wrote all the lyrics and additional melodies. And the in-house band isn’t the usual ADV crew, with long-time Soto/JSS drummer Edu Cominato taking command of the kit and really belting out a powerful performance.
What I love about this record – and what I told Jeff after he sent me the album some months ago – was that I thought Alessandro had done a superb job in crafting a set of songs that play like a JSS Greatest Hits record. Throughout the record you hear parts of Jeff’s career, solo as well as a taste of Talisman, Yngwie Malmsteen and even WET. I can hear parts of Lost In The Translation, Prism and Damage Control.
Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) sounds like the best of all parts of Jeff’s career, wrapped up in a seriously well produced and sounding package. On top of that, Jeff himself sounds as fresh as ever.
This is a classic Jeff Scott Soto record.
To showcase just a few of the songs, the album opens with one of the best solo tracks of Jeff’s career is the Talisman sounding Someone To Love, this is just everything fans love about Jeff.
Paper Wings again heads back to the heavy groove of Talisman, mixed with some Yngwie guitar hero stylings.
The heavy but melodic Love Will Find A Way has groove, funk and driving attitude that wraps up several eras in one song.
Between The Lines is a superb AOR ballad while the dark and heavy Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) is almost at the opposite end of Jeff’s spectrum.
No filler, just winner after winner, with the inspired paring of ADV and JSS really delivering for fans. As already stated, this is the best of JSS comprising of 11 new songs and another killer live set as a 10 track bonus disc.