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Journey - Infinity CD (album) cover




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2.82 | 111 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After three reasonable good albums, in the jazz-rock/fusion (with a touch of pop) style the group had failed to meet the recording company expectations in terms of commercial sales. With the punk movement being the critics new darlings and the disco phenomenon ruling the charts, there was little room for this kind of music in 1978. So Columbia was ready to drop them and forget it all. But Herbie Herbert, Journey´s manager, convinced them to give another shot if they tried a different approach and assign the group with a lead singer. So it was their last chance.

At first the hired singer was Robert Fleischman for some time, and by all accounts he seemed to fit well, but since Herbert didn´t get along with him (and found another vocalist) he decided that it was better to change things. Interestingly enough, neither the band nor the new guy (one Steve Perry) were initially interested. But the tough manager insisted and eventually they all relented and hired Perry. Fleischman did however got credited on some tracks on the forthcoming album, including the band´s biggest hit until then, Wheel In The Sky.

So it is really hard to believe that such ruthless move could ever had worked, but in the end it became the push Journey needed so desperately. Tired of producing the albums themselves they also chose the right producer for the job, Roy Thomas Baker (of Queen fame), who helped them define the new route they took.

I´m still in awe of how the band managed to deliver such a piece of fine AOR/melodic rock under such circumstances. They proved they were even more versatile as songwriters than before, crafting perfect songs with a sophisticated edge on all of them. Contrary to some people believe to write such material is no easy task: countless of others tried the same trick and failed. Journey proved they could produce radio friendly stuff that was also original and elaborated, toning down the soloing (but not dropping it) and enhancing the vocal parts. Most of all they finally found a style of their own, liked it or not.

Although far from perfect, Infinity shows a very tight band and everything here fits (contrary to the rather jagged two previous ones). Gregg Rolie still sings two lead vocals, but it is clear that he is no match to the newcomer. Steve Perry is definitely one of the great voices of rock, a one of a kind type of vocalist and will influence a whole generation of aspiring crooners (including one James LaBrie, future member of Dream Theater).

Of the songs here my all time favorite is Wheel In The Sky, a great showcase for all band members. It´s great technique and talent used in small doses, just enough to highlight the song´s strong points and not to overblown it. Winds of March is another strong tune with prog hints all over it. The remaining tracks are not as powerful, but still at least above average. I agree with most critics who said the album has maybe a ballad or two too many, but still the repertoire is stronger than anything they´ve done before. And much better than most of the stuff that was playing in the radio at the time.

Even after 30 years, Infinity still sounds fresh and convincing, while their earlier stuff is hopelessly dated. Of course I know this album will never be favored by the average prog fan, but anyone who loves a good melody, tasteful arrangements, terrific performances and perfect crafted prog pop songs will enjoy this CD very much.

Rating: for a prog site I guess 4 stars seems too much, and a 3,5 rating should be more fitting, but personally I still think it is an excellent album so 4 stars it is.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |


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