21.5.14

Neal Schon - So U (2014)

"So U" is the new album by Journey guitarist Neal Schon. Instead of pulling instrumental album, as this one, Neal would like to show off some of his song writing skills and also vocal power. A little let down for instrumental lovers, although there are two non vocal tracks on the album as consolidation. This album also head titled as Neal Schon featuring Marco & Castronovo. Two veteran musicians that specialized in session works.

Out of expected, the style of "So U" is not so Journey, it is more basic hard rock in general. The first track "Take A Ride" is a fresh bluesy guitar driven hard rock , wholly belong to '80s scene. With "So U", Neal try a long composition with greater complexity, reminding of Genesis and Toto. "Exotica" is the most interesting track, an instrumental composition in a scale that kind of New Age-ish, but then it is heavily improvised in bass and drumming. The only track that resembling well Journey may be on "Love Finds A Way", AoR feel ala Journey minus Steve Perry / Augeri Arnel Pireda power. "On My Way" saw the trio somehow find a way to have a great jam over a vocalized song, especially the catchy Dean Castronova's complex drum pattern. Not all song build on blues licks, "Serenity" is the song that break the ice, going more minor feel, more hair metal spirit. The album finished with the second most interesting song, yes the second instrumental works "Big Ocean", in which this has even more hypnotized power, slow and overwhelming sliding notes.

Interesting how the trio got to group together, surely a big potential on this super group. Even so, the three of them choose to composed something more down to earth, easy listening song. Do not under estimate the technical artistic on them, as heard in "Serenity", "So U", or "Exotica", these are excellent simple song yet powerful in music technical difficulty. All these veterans musician know how to balance things out between playing music and playing instrument. An excellent works for those looking for quality easy listening rock album.

Favorite tracks: Exotica, Take A Ride, On My Way

Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

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Neal Schon - So U (2014) 

01. Take A Ride
02. So U
03. Exotica
04. What You Want
05. Love Finds A Way
06. On My Way
07. Serenity
08. Shelter
09. Big Ocean

Line Up:
Neal Schon (Journey) - vocals, guitar
Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) - bass, vocals
Deen Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Hardline) - drums, vocals

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