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Journey - Infinity CD (album) cover




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2.81 | 109 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Winds of change

Following the spectacular lack of success for their musically credible first three albums, Journey succumbed to pressure from their record company and reinvented themselves. Recognising that they were weak in the vocal department, they initially brought in Robert Fleischman as lead vocalist. He however lasted less than a year, there being only one commercially available recording by the band with his vocal ("For you" can be found on the "Time 3" box set). He did however write other songs with the band, three of which can be found on "Infinity".

Towards the end of 1977, in the most significant move of the band's entire existence, Steve Perry took on the role of lead vocalist. For my money, Perry has one of the best voices in rock. Derided for steering the band away from the fusion based rock which they had played thus far, it must however be acknowledged that his arrival immediately delivered the commercial success the band and their record label craved. On this album Perry shares lead vocal duties with founder Gregg Rolie, but it is already apparent that Rolie's talents are stronger elsewhere.

Noted Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker was brought in to produce the album, Baker bringing with him many of the techniques he had used to great success with Queen.

The opening "Lights", written by Steve Perry and Neal Schon, gives an immediate indication of the way Journey will head forever more. This classic AOR ballad may be ultra smooth, but it has a killer melody and all the ingredients of a live anthem. Perry and Schon dominate the writing on the album as a whole, but the other band members do contribute too.

The songs alternate between the ballads, the anthems and the upbeat rock songs, but all the while they are shorter and much more focused. Gone are the long instrumental breaks, and improvisations are now a definite no go area. The tracks here run from 2 to 5 minutes, with most being around the preferred single length of 3-4 minutes.

Tracks such as the vocal ballad "Patiently" may sound nothing like anything we have heard thus far from Journey, but sales of the album speak for themselves, and such songs at least secured a future for Journey. Personally, I consider it a wonderful song anyway.

The upbeat "Wheel in the sky" is similar to Gary Moore's "Murder in the skies", melodically at least but not in sentiment. "Feeling that Way" had an interesting history, in that it was initially written as the instrumental "Velvet curtain", an extract of which can be heard on "Time 3". Lyrics were then added and the song became "Please Let Me Stay", intended for the album "Next"; it was not included on that album though. Steve Perry later picked up the song again, added some new lyrics and it finally appears on this album.

The five minute "Winds of March", written during Robert Fleischman's brief time with the band, is the closest we get to anything prog here. The song includes some fine organ and guitar, which sit well alongside Perry's superb vocal.

In all, an album which for my money is unfairly derided, not for the music it contains, but for what it represents in terms of Journey's history. The simple fact is though that the band's record label were ready to drop them. They had to reinvent or die. It is to their credit that they took the bold steps they did. While "Infinity" may represent the end of Journey as a band with prog credentials, it is still a fine album.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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