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Journey - Look Into The Future CD (album) cover




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3.09 | 110 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The future ain't what it used to be

About a year after their eponymous début release, Journey returned with this follow up album. In the interim, second guitarist George Tickner left the band without being directly replaced. The unforeseen nature of his departure is evidenced by the fact that he co- credited with writing two of the songs on this album. Still essentially a prog/fusion based band, "Look to the future" is nonetheless more commercial than its predecessor. Do not assume though that this is the start of the AOR years, the music here is quite different.

The opening "On a Saturday night" is certainly the most pop orientated song from the band thus far, the Elton John like rock beat and trite lyrics adding up to a decent but prosaic toe- tapper. "It's all too much" is a rare cover version by Journey, the song having been written by George Harrison. This version is highly enjoyable, but not a patch on the definitive rendition by Steve Hillage. Ironically, it is the vocals which are the weak point here, in part due to some poor mixing.

"Anyway" is decidedly heavy, the slower tempo and softer/louder structure resulting in some good dramatics. The track actually reminds me a bit of Thin Lizzy's finest hour with "Still in love with you". "She Makes Me (Feel Alright)" has a Led Zeppelin feel to it in the muddled Plant like vocal and Page-esque guitar. "You're on Your Own" borrows from the Beatles again, but this time uncredited; the chiming lead guitar riff is straight from "I want you/she's so heavy". The song certainly has a more progressive arrangement, although it remains based on a basic rock foundation.

If side one of the original LP sees the band moving in a more commercial direction, side two confirms that they still have ambitions beyond the shorter rock song formula. With only three tracks in total, the side includes two of the band's longest tracks. At over 8 minutes, the title track is the longest recorded by the band for a major release. The song starts out as a Nektar like prog ballad with pleasant organ sounds ebbing and flowing behind the vocal. Neal Schon's lead guitar work is particularity strong on this track, which is for me the best on the album by some way.

The cowbell tapping intro and Leslie West like vocals on "Midnight Dreamer" remind us again of Mountain, although the song soon transforms into an electric piano then lead guitar improvisation. The track also features what sounds like the first overt use of synthesiser by the band. The album closes with the 7+ minute "I'm Gonna Leave You" (not the similarly titled Led Zeppelin song, they were "quitting"!). This slice of offbeat blues rock seems rather out of place alongside its peers, with something of a George Thorogood feel to it. Not a bad song, but rather weak as a closer.

In all, an enjoyable second album from Journey, which sees them exploring a more diverse range of influences than on their début. Sometimes it works, sometimes less so, but overall this is an album worthy of investigation.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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