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| 21 January 2019 | Reply

Capitol Records
October 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

“I know it’s been a long time coming,” are the first lyrics Steve Perry sings on new album Traces, and never a truer word spoken. It’s been twenty-two long years since Perry last released new music – the Journey reunion album Trial By Fire. Following that album he was diagnosed with a degenerative bone condition and needed a hip replacement, after which… tumbleweeds.

The first thing which is obvious about Traces is that there aren’t any musical surprises, except to say that despite the near-quarter-century gap between his last album and this one, his vocals sound as amazing as ever. Yes, they’ve warmed over the years, as everyone’s voice does as time marches on – he may not hit all the higher notes he used to, but his vocals are fantastic.

The songs are, as expected, firmly in the AOR range that Journey and his two prior solo albums inhabited, though with – that word again – a warmer, more modern production.

Warmth and comfort is what Traces is all about: it’s a return for Perry, and it is as welcome as a favourite blanket on a cold night.

Perry has gone on record to say that it was losing his girlfriend Kellie Nash to cancer in late 2012 which reignited his passion for music, and there are plenty of heartstring-tugging lyrical tributes to her on Traces, from No More Cryin’, We’re Still Here and No Erasin’ through to closer We Fly.

Don’t come to Traces thinking it’s going to be some maudlin affair, though. Oh no – these songs are largely ballads, sure, but whilst they acknowledge sadness and loss, they also remember the joy that love has brought, and celebrate that.

Schmoove is the name of Steve Perry’s game – always has been – and here his talented team of session bods and co-writers (including Randy Goodrum, who co-authored his biggest solo hit Oh Sherrie and Rob Zombie’s offsider John 5) bring exactly the polish required.

Whilst there’s nothing as instantly memorable as Oh Sherrie or Don’t Stop Believin’, Traces is a solid return to the game, and shows enough promise that we hope it has helped with his mourning and buoyed him enough to want to make another, more rounded album.

Category: CD Reviews

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