A sizzling cauldron of talent …an album that will satisfy the hungry rocker and the fan of radio-ready hard-pop
I Found The Sun Again
Mascot Label Group / The Players Club
8 tracks / 50:17
My good wife and listening partner summed it up: “he can play anything.” Yeah, that’s right. On I Found The Sun Again, the new album by Steve Lukather, the man pretty much does it all: rock, pop, blues, jazz... it’s all there, but not in a musically schizophrenic way. The stunning base-camp group of players - Jeff Babko on synths and various keys, Gregg Bissonette on drums, Jorgen Carlsson and John Pierce respectively, on bass, and David Paich on organ - bond together in support of the signature guitar tone and technique of the legendary Steve Lukather. This is what Frank Zappa would call ‘a tight commando unit’ of a band.
I Found The Sun Again is produced with guts and finesse by Steve Lukather and Ken Freeman. There’s a definite ‘live in the studio’ feel to the whole thing, and you can sense the old-school vibe.
Lukather’s guitar chops are without question, but on I Found The Sun Again he’s also the primary singer. Frequently backed up by his Toto companion-in-arms, Joseph Williams, Lukather’s vocals are an excellent match for the classic blues-rock approach of much of this project. His visceral singing style at times recalls the phrasing of Mylon LeFevre combined with some of the attack of Johnny Winter, all the while maintaining his own distinct sound. The end result of this sizzling cauldron of talent is an album that will satisfy the hungry rocker and the fan of radio-ready hard pop at the same time. Another musical compadre also appears on the album, on the most radio-friendly track, “Run To Me.” - the former drummer of another well-known group sits in here. A guy who goes by the name of Ringo.
I Found The Sun Again starts off rocking from the first infectious riff of “Along For The Ride,” a power-rock track with a rousing set of drum breaks and a synth moment that’s an homage to The Who. The guitar / piano interplay on “Serpent Soul” is just a hint of what’s in store on “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.” This cover - one of three on the album - is a ten and a-half minute tour-de-force of bluesy jazz work by the whole ensemble, but especially from Paich, Babko, and Lukather on organ, piano, and guitar, respectively.
Although Steve Lukather is primarily thought of as an instrumentalist there’s only one instrumental track on the album. “Journey Through,” is written by Jeff Babko and features the clear bell-like tones of his Rhodes against the rich, earthy sound of Lukather’s guitar. The melodic structure of the song reminds me of the current work of Focus, and that’s reinforced by the strong presence of the powerful guitar work combined with distinctive bass lines and an impressive organ presence. The sophisticated instrumental journey leads into the second of the trio of covers, Joe Walsh’s “Welcome to The Club,” a return to a more commercial pop-rock effort.
The dreamy and contented-sounding ballad, “I Found the Sun Again” starts off with a guitar intro reminiscent of Christopher Cross’ “Sailing,” another ode to contentment and peace of mind. It’s an unashamed love song that starts off, “If there’s a God out there / He must have heard my prayer because I found you.” The song perfectly sets up the radio-ready “Run To Me,” a fine song with a great hook and solid drumming by the aforementioned Mr. Starr.
The last song on the album is also the third cover, as Lukather pays tribute to Robin Trower and Jimi Hendrix, performing “Bridge of Sighs” with a heavy leaning toward Jimi - to the point of briefly quoting a bit of “Purple Haze” in some of his opening riffs. The song’s first sounds are coincidentally (?) reminiscent of Procol Harum’s “Strangers In Space” (a post-Trower Procol song) and it ends in a swirling vortex of guitar psychedelia.
I Found The Sun Again is an eminently enjoyable collection of songs - something we used to call a great album back in the days before everything was downloaded and relegated to the inner reaches of your hard drive.
This is one that you’ll want to have with you in the car for that next road trip.
- Bert Saraco
You can see Bert Saraco’s concert photography at www.facebook.com/express.image