lukatherSuper-guitarist Steve Lukather proves he's the whole package, with Transition – an album that covers all the bases....
Artist: Steve Lukather
Label: SKH Music
Length: 9 tracks / 45:52

Chances are, you've heard Steve Lukather play guitar – after all, he's contributed guitar parts to some 1500+ albums, is a founding member of the successful pop band Toto, and has successfully held his own – on stage and in studio - against guitar legends the likes of Larry Carlton. His newest solo project, Transition, proves that Lukather is more than just a guitar slinger – the album is full of sophisticated but accessible fusion-seasoned pop that comes to a sizzling head on the title track, where we're treated to almost four minutes of dazzling instrumental work before we even hear the lyrics kick in.

Speaking of vocals, Lukather's no slouch in that department, either. Possessing a fine, textured rock singer's voice, Lukather sounds like a cross between Duane Allman and ex-Kansas vocalist John Elefante. In fact, "Right the Wrong" and the power ballad, "Last Man Standing," with their strong choruses and heavy progressive-pop sound wouldn't be at all out of place on one of Elefante's solo projects. Lukather's lyrics are full of passion and a strong sense of justice, betraying little patience for hypocrisy - "Judgment Day" and "Creep Motel" aren't exactly radio-friendly in their lyrical attack and will probably earn this album the "Explicit" warning from Amazon, so be forewarned. Lest you think this is an overly angry album, let me point out that the last track is a solo instrumental version of Charlie Chaplain's "Smile." All is not lost...

The production is rich and clean, the songs have hooks, the playing is astounding, and the vocals are infectious. With the help of friends like Def Leppard's Phil Collen, bass legends Leeland Sklar, Nathan East and John Pierce, drum-masters like Gregg Bissonette and Chad Smith, and keyboardist / co-producer / co-writer C.J. Vanston, Lukather has produced a fine collection of songs for the discriminating rocker leaning in a Steely Dan direction. Bluesy in places, funky, jazzy – certainly an album that guitar fans will love, but one that works on a much broader level, Transition will transport the listener to some interesting places, indeed.

Bert Saraco