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Journey - Eclipse [Aka: ECL1P53] CD (album) cover

ECLIPSE [AKA: ECL1P53]

Journey

 

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3.73 | 51 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Gleeful

Journey's new release for 2011 sees Arnel Pineda retaining his position as lead singer, with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain keeping theirs as de facto band leaders. The pair co- write virtually all the songs here, with Pineda contributing to a couple and Schon writing the closing instrumental alone. The album title is written in the same way as on the "Escape" album, with numbers replacing the letters I,S and E.

While the songs predictably include up tempo rock songs and big sound AOR numbers, there is a surprising absence of genuine Journey ballads. This means that as a whole the album feels a bit like one of Rainbow's later, Post RJ Dio albums. It is noticeable that most of the songs have been extended from the normal 4-5 minutes to have running times of 5-7 minutes. Neal Schon is therefore afforded a little more space for lead guitar excursions, although the songs remain pop rock orientated with little real development.

Pineda's Steve Perry like voice ensures there is continuity once again in terms of the Journey "franchise", the songs here clearly being written to a strict template. We should not however be too cynical about such an approach, the quality of the songs here is well up to that we would expect from a Journey album.

Personal favourites include the relatively heavy "Chain of love" which boasts an impressive riff and "Resonate", a drifting mid-paced rock anthem. "Human Feel" which runs to almost 7 minutes, will probably become a crowd pleaser in the live environment, the incessant pace being driven by by a catchy chanted hook and some fine lead guitar.

"To Whom It May Concern", which is credited to Schon, Cain and Pineda, plus one Erik Pineda, is about as close as we get to a ballad, but still very much in the power ballad way. Neal Schon's closing instrumental "Venus" offers a good vehicle for him to display his dexterity, but it is something of a missed opportunity in terms of musical appeal (for me at least).

Overall, a very rock orientated album from Journey, virtually devoid of their trademark soft ballads. While it is good to see the tracks being stretched beyond the normal pop song lengths, it is clear that this album is designed to capitalise on the band's success with the Glee generation (through "Don't stop believing"). An enjoyable album then, but not one to break new ground for the band.

In a further pandering the commercial pressures, the album was initially only available in the US and Canada via Walmart Stores.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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