Since we all have a bit of Musical ADD (check out our podcast episode 13: We all have Musical ADD here) ….
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Jeff Scott Soto has released his latest solo effort. It’s Outstanding…Stupendous…Bodacious…. Unbelievable! Must have for any melodic hard rock lover…Did you hear that? That was a mic drop!!! Go get this record!
For an actual review and a Jeff Scott Soto history lesson, see below….
So, who is this Jeff Scott Soto that you keep hearing about? If you only know him as that “Malmsteem guy” or that “Journey guy” than you have missed literally TONS of great music from this amazing artist. Jeff has not only put out 13 solo albums, but has been involved in over 140 albums in the last 35 years. Man of many talents…in many genres…Jeff has recorded with some of the most talented and renowned musicians in the industry including Axel Rudi Pell, Marcel Jacob, Neal Schon, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Gus G, Lita Ford, Joel Hoekstra, etc. etc. etc. Ever heard of a band called Talisman? How about W.E.T.? or Sons of Apollo? TSO? Soto? You get the picture.
Retribution by Jeff Scott Soto (released November 2017, Frontiers Records)
Produced by Jeff Scott Soto and Howie Simon
Jeff Scott Soto: Lead vocals, Keyboards
Howie Simon: Guitars
Edu Cominato: Drums
Paulo Mendonca: Guitars/Bass/Piano on “Song for Joey”
Ant Ellis: Guest lead vocals on “Rage of the Year”
August Zadra: Additional backing vocals, guitars on “Reign Again”
Stephen Sturm: Guitars on “Reign Again”
Andy Z: Rhythm guitar on “Reign Again”
The opening track “Retribution” kicks your ass immediately. Killer solo. Dirty aggressive riff. Big mega-catchy chorus. Everything you want a great melodic hard rock song to be.
“Inside/Outside” has a vocal melody that is classic Jeff. The guitar takes a back seat as Jeff shows you what a radio hit sounds like. That being said, the song does have some Mr. Big musicianship type moments.
The rhythm section drives the intensity and the unique vocal melody makes “Rage of the Year” a catchy song. Add in Bigfoot’s Ant Ellis as a co-lead vocalist and the song turns into perfection. Howie wears out the Wah pedal in the solo.
“Until the pain is gone, until the fight is won, it feels like forever!” King of the ballad, Jeff strikes gold again with an amazing ballad “Feels Like Forever” that will have you singing along. If you love these types of songs, check out a CD released in 2006 called Essential Ballads by Jeff Scott Soto. It’s a must have for all power ballad lovers!
Both “Last Time” and “Reign Again” are AOR hits with memorable and hummable melodies. “Last Time” has a pretty cool breakdown part, while “Reign Again” reminded me a bit of Night Ranger’s “Sing Me Away”.
Jeff has a unique way of bringing the funk into rock. I think it’s his vocal phrasing. “Bullet for my Baby” is a perfect example. Also, his lyrics are never really defined. He likes to keep the listener guessing and wants them to connect to the song in their own distinct way.
“Song For Joey” is an emotional piece co-written by Paulo Mendonca that was not originally intended for release but instead written as a personal tribute to Jeff’s brother Joey. On the newly revamped website (Jeffscottsoto.com), “Song For Joey” has a cool lyric video you should check out.
“Breakout” and “Dedicated To You” are both classic examples of the music that Jeff has been supplying for the last 35 years. These songs could have been on any Talisman or Takara album. Awesome backing vocals too.
Leave it to the chameleon-like Jeff Scott Soto to end the album with an acoustic song. “Autumn” shows the maturity in the Howie and Jeff songwriting partnership and is perfected with a soulful vocal.
I bug the hell out of my friends to listen to Jeff Scott Soto… literally force it on them anytime I can. Why you ask? Because the songs have huge choruses, epic riffs and the melodies are full of awesome hooks. In my opinion, Jeff remains one of the most underrated singers in rock today.
So, most likely…. you have read this review without listening to the songs yet. Although you may know Jeff, you probably have no clue who Howie Simon (Talisman, Ken Tamplin, Graham Bonnet) is. He is a guy that owes me money! LOL (inside joke). He is a versatile player that can play anything from Yngwie Malmsteen to the Bee Gees. For the talent he brings, he has amazing restraint and understands that a song is much more than just a guitar riff and solo. Howie is AWESOME!!!!
Sons of Apollo (Jeff’s other band, check out my album review here) has already announced that 2018 will be their year. I hope that Jeff can do some solo shows during downtime.
We will end where we began. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Jeff Scott Soto has released his latest solo effort. It’s Outstanding…Stupendous…Bodacious…. Unbelievable! Must have for any melodic hard rock lover…Did you hear that? That was a mic drop!!! Go get this record!
One of the best albums of 2017. Pooni out!
Buy: Jeff Scott Soto