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Journey - Evolution CD (album) cover




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2.20 | 108 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Itīs easy to criticize Journey for changing styles and going pop, specially if they were successful (a lot people canīt stand other peopleīs success). But letīs face it: they were a competent jazz rock fusion band for a time, but never an outstanding one. Theyīd be soon gone forever if they insisted on that course. On the other hand, very few bands could deliver such terrific melodic pop prog songs like them. Many, many have tried and very few succeeded. On other words, Journey was much better off writing melodic rock than jazz rock and thatīs it. Why should they do otherwise? If they were not good pop songwriters they would never be as big as they were, nor for that long, no matter how hard they tried.

Anyway, by 1979 their first Steve Perry era LP has sold over 4 million copies around the world without a hit single and without a lot of radio airplay, due much to their strategy of constant touring and looking for alternative ways to promote their songs. (even though Evolution would yield the groupīs first "true" hit single, reaching the top 20 with the bluesy Lovinī, Touchinī, Squeezin') But according to several sources drummer Aynsley Dunbarīs playing was quite erratic during the last tour to Europe and tensions within the group led Journey to fire him and invite Montroseīs Steve Smith to join in. The group was not very willing to hire Roy Thomas Baker to produce again, but in the end they decided to let him back. the resulting album is pretty much in the same vein as the the previous one, proving that the success of Infinity was no fluke. The songwriting kept more or less the same formula, with shorter songs, using their tremendous musicianship to enhance the tunes, not to overshadow them. As usual the solos are there, short, ok, but still original and inspired. More and more it was obvious that Journey was becoming Schonīs group, with Gregg Rolieīs role diminishing even further (he sings lead vocalsl on only one song). Still, the work was very cohesive and tight and, except for a couple of weaker tunes, the tracklist was again excellent throughout the CD. Newbie Smith did a fine job too, proving the change was a good move after all. Like Infinity, Evolution still sounds as fresh and energetic now as it did back then.

If you like first class AOR/melodic rock with several prog bits you canīt miss this one. However, if you rather hear the bandīs second rate jazz rock leanings of their first 3 releases, stay away from this one as much as you can. The band had found their own personality and would never look back again. To my ears Journey sounds much more convincing with the new direction than on any time before that.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |


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